Title page for ETD etd-0515103-184631

Type of Document Dissertation
Author White, Marney A.
URN etd-0515103-184631
Title Mediators of Weight Loss in an Internet-Based Intervention for African American Adolescent Girls
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Donald A. Williamson, Committee Chair
Amy Copeland Committee Member
David C. Blouin Committee Member
Frank L. Greenway Committee Member
Michael A. Welsch Dean's Representative
  • obesity
  • weight-loss
  • adolescents
  • African-American
  • internet
  • telehealth
Date of Defense 2003-04-30
Availability unrestricted
The primary aim of this study was to assess the process variables involved in a weight loss program for African-American adolescent girls. This internet-based intervention compared a behavioral treatment program to an educational treatment program; it was hypothesized that participants randomized to the behavioral condition would lose more weight at 6 months than those in the educational condition. Several process variables have been identified as affecting success in in vivo weight loss programs for adults and children, including program adherence, self-efficacy, and social support. The current study sought to broaden the understanding of these process variables as they pertain to an intervention program that is presented via the internet. It was hypothesized that variables such as program adherence, dietary self-efficacy, psychological factors, and social support factors would mediate the effect of experimental condition on weight loss. Results partially supported the hypotheses.

For weight loss among adolescents, parent variables pertaining to life and family satisfaction were the strongest mediating variables. For parent weight loss, changes in dietary practices over the course of 6 months were the strongest mediators. These findings suggest that family/parental variables exert a strong influence on weight loss efforts for adolescents. Future treatment studies should emphasize the role of the family and incorporate components to address psychological well-being of other family members to facilitate success.

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