Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Does an initial stress management intervention prior to a behavioral weight control program augment weight loss for overweight African American women who report moderate to high perceived stress? A pilot feasibility study (RENEW II)
by Dicarlo, Marisha Boedigheimer, Ph.D., University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 2014, 135; 3703983
Abstract (Summary)

Objective: The purpose of RENEW II was to evaluate the feasibility of a stress management program delivered prior to a minimal contact behavioral weight control program to augment weight loss in overweight and obese moderately to highly stressed African American women. The study examined changes in weight, waist circumference, and perceived stress levels among program participants.

Design and Methods: Fifty overweight, stressed African American women were block randomized to either a 4-week stress management program + 12-week minimal contact behavioral weight loss program or a minimal contact behavioral weight loss program alone. Post-intervention ANOVA and regression analyses examined the main effect of group assignment on weight loss, waist change and stress reduction outcomes. Results: The experimental group trended toward a significant reduction in perceived stress compared to the control group (Experimental: -8.9 + 9.6; Control: -3.9 + 7.7; p=.06) and reported a significantly lower final Perceived Stress Scale score (Experimental: 20.95 + 8.3; Control: 25.8 + 3.9; p=.045). Both groups reduced their weight (Experimental: -.02 + .04; Control: -.03 + .04) and waist circumference (Experimental: -.76 + 2.7; Control: -1 + 1.8) though the difference between groups was not significant.

Conclusion: Weight losses among African American women in behavioral weight control programs have traditionally been modest: this program achieved weight losses that were similar to those seen in longer and more intense programs. The stress intervention was effective in lowering stress among the experimental group although neither practice of stress management nor lower stress predicted weight loss or waist circumference change. Important lessons were learned about how to deliver a stress management plus weight loss intervention to this vulnerable population. Future research with an adequately powered study should evaluate if a weight loss + stress management program might augment weight losses among stressed, overweight/obese African American women.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Cornell, Carol E.
Commitee: Bursac, Zoran, Pulley, LeaVonne, Smith West, Delia, Williams, David K.
School: University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Department: Health Promotion and Prevention Research
School Location: United States -- Arkansas
Source: DAI-B 76/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Behavioral psychology, Public health, Health education
Keywords: African american women, Obesity, Perceived stress, Stress, Weight, Weight loss
Publication Number: 3703983
ISBN: 978-1-321-76123-8
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