Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis



First Advisor

John Young

Relational Format



Evidence shows that psychological intervention with obese individuals facilitates improved diet, increased physical activity, weight loss, and maintenance of stable body weight over time. These interventions use techniques derived from broader theory and empirical work related to the health belief model (HBM), theory of planned behavior (TPB), and social cognitive theory (SCT) to target general health behaviors in terms of diet, patterns of eating, sleep, stress, and level of physical activity. These behaviors have been effectively targeted by multi-component evidence-based practices utilizing self-monitoring and social support: two common components that facilitate implementation, requiring few resources. While evidence suggests that interventions including these components improve weight management, it is unclear what either components' individual effect on weight management is, or whether they interact to effect weight management. The present study aimed to investigate this relationship. Participants were randomly assigned into one of four experimental groups: social support alone, self-monitoring alone, combined social support and self-monitoring, and a control. All groups received psychoeducation in nutrition, exercise and injury prevention, and established goals for body weight. All groups met with the investigator on a weekly basis to weigh themselves and complete self-report measures of social support. Participants in social support conditions met twice a week and those in self-monitoring conditions utilized MyFitnessPal daily to record nutrition, physical activity, and emotion and cognitions surrounding these behaviors. Manipulated groups reported additional adherence data each week. Results were calculated using a 2x2 ANOVA, and indicated no significant main effects for social support or self-monitoring on mean weekly weight change, as well as no significant interaction effect on mean weekly weight change. Additionally, a regression analysis was run to determine if scores on the social support self-report measure predicted mean weekly weight change, and no significant prediction was found. Subsequently, graphical analysis of this pilot study data, accounting for the low statistical power and likelihood of Type II error, showed the control group yielded a mean weekly weight change in the positive direction while intervention groups yielded changes in the negative direction, with the combined group showing the greatest weight loss. Future research should consider repeating the intervention with larger groups and examine the differential effects of social support subtypes on weight management.

Included in

Psychology Commons



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