Psychology ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-23-2021


Addressing health disparities in overweight/obesity is a key public health issue. Research supports the efficacy of behavioral weight loss (BWL) interventions, however, adherence to these interventions is often low, which negatively impacts outcomes. The efficacy of BWL interventions is consistently lower among communities of color. Thus, there is a strong need to design and test interventions that are culturally sensitive and address predictors of BWL adherence in diverse groups. Previous research suggests that for Hispanic/Latinx women with overweight/obesity, attitudinal familism (“family comes first”) and body dissatisfaction were informative in predicting BWL adherence. The current study builds on this previous research by designing and testing the effects of two brief interventions targeting attitudinal familism and body dissatisfaction on adherence, weight loss, and psychological outcomes in Hispanic/Latinx women with overweight/obesity. A total of 71 Hispanic/Latinx women were recruited and randomized to one of three conditions: (1) active control (n = 34), (2) attitudinal familism (n = 19), and (3) body image (n = 18). All participants were provided with personalized calorie and step goals and asked to self-monitor these goals on an online platform for 8-weeks (56 days). Participants assigned to the attitudinal familism and body image conditions also were asked to complete four, 1-hour weekly group sessions. Self-report and anthropomorphic measures were completed at baseline, 4-weeks, and 8-weeks. Results indicated no significant group differences in adherence to calorie and step goals. However, significant differences emerged when examining changes in psychological outcomes and weight loss. Participants assigned to the intervention conditions had greater increases in self-efficacy and greater decreases in depression, relative to the active control participants. Furthermore, participants in the body image intervention lost significantly more weight compared to the active control and attitudinal familism conditions. Overall, these results provide preliminary evidence that addressing attitudinal familism and body image are helpful in enhancing BWL outcomes for Hispanic/Latinx women. Despite no group differences in self-monitoring adherence, participants in the intervention conditions demonstrated greater improvements in psychological outcomes, and participants in the body image condition lost significantly more weight. Future work should continue to investigate adherence and its potential contribution to weight loss and the utility of these interventions among Hispanic/Latinx women with overweight/obesity.

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Level of Degree


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First Committee Member (Chair)

Jane Ellen Smith, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Sarah J. Erickson, Ph.D.

Third Committee Member

Steven P. Verney, Ph.D.

Fourth Committee Member

Kathryn E. Coakley, Ph.D.




Behavioral Weight Loss Interventions, Hispanic/Latinx, Adherence, Body Dissatisfaction, Attitudinal Familism, Culturally-Responsive

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Psychology Commons