Thesis Title

Weight Watchers At Work: an Emphasis on Perceived Social Support and Self-Efficacy in Weight Loss

Date of Graduation

Summer 2007

Degree

Master of Science in Psychology

Department

Psychology

Committee Chair

D. Wayne Mitchell

Keywords

weight loss, social support, self-efficacy, Weight Watchers, workplace wellness

Subject Categories

Psychology

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to investigate the effectiveness of Weight Watchers (WW), a commercial weight loss program, in a workplace setting, emphasizing the role of perceived social support and self-efficacy. Forty-six full-time faculty and staff members from a Midwest university participated. Requirements for participation included a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or greater and involvement in WW for one year. The study included the development of a retrospective Pre/Post social support scale, and used the Weight Management Support Inventory (WMSI) to retrospectively assess attitudes and beliefs about social support. There were two primary hypotheses: (1) a significant change would occur in health due to the weight loss intervention (weight, percent fat, BMI, social support, and self-efficacy); and (2) self-efficacy and social support are hypothesized to have a positive impact on health outcome variables for those individuals who have been involved with WW for one-year. In summary, significant changes were found between the pre-post analyses with several key variables: frequency of social support; helpfulness of social support; weight; percent fat; and BMI. Although not statistically significant, an overwhelming trend existed for the relationship between social support, self-efficacy and health-related outcomes. The relationship suggests that increases in social support, and self-efficacy resulted in better health outcomes (i.e., weight loss, reduction of percent fat, and BMI). Funding for the study was provided by the Graduate College, Taylor Health and Wellness Center, and the College of Health and Human Services.

Copyright

© Rebecca Jo Cliffton

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Dissertation/Thesis

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