Psychology ETDs


Julia Austin

Publication Date



The current study examined environmental and socio-cultural factors postulated to predict adherence to a standard weight management program in Mexican-American women. In addition, the study gathered preliminary data on the effectiveness of the program with the study sample. One-hundred overweight or obese Mexican-American women in the Albuquerque area completed a pre-treatment intake and were enrolled in the group-based treatment. Of the 100 women who enrolled, 82 attended at least one treatment session. In terms of the predictors of treatment adherence, income was found to positively predict attendance in multivariate analyses. In addition, neighborhood satisfaction positively predicted reported walking goals completed, and familism (attention to the needs of the family above those of the self) negatively predicted reported calorie goals completed in multivariate analyses. In addition, exploratory analyses revealed that intake depression symptoms and body image varied by level of attendance, such that treatment completers reported lower baseline levels of body dissatisfaction and depression symptoms. In terms of treatment effectiveness, women who completed the program demonstrated significant pre- to post-treatment weight losses, reductions in waist-to-hip ratios, and reduced symptoms of depression, binge eating and body dissatisfaction. The results of the current study support the idea that economic, environmental, socio-cultural, and psychological factors predict adherence to a standard obesity treatment in Mexican-American women. In addition, there is preliminary evidence that such a program may be beneficial for weight loss. The results of the current study indicate that weight management programs should attempt to address the multi-level barriers to adherence that Mexican-American women may face.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Levensky, Eric

Second Committee Member

Yager, Joel

Third Committee Member

Smith, Bruce

Fourth Committee Member

Verney, Steve


American Psychological Association, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, UNM Graduate Research and Development grant




Obesity in women--New Mexico--Psychological aspects, Mexican American women--Health and hygiene--New Mexico, Obesity--Treatment--New Mexico--Social aspects, Health behavior--New Mexico.

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Psychology Commons