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Efficacy of a self-directed behavioral health change program: Weight, body composition, cardiovascular fitness, blood pressure, health risk, and psychosocial mediating variables

Abstract

This study assessed the efficacy of a comprehensive behavioral health program designed to promote self-initiated change in overweight healthy middle-aged adults (M=49 years). Three treatment groupss (total n=25) differing in type of social support provided (i.e., group plus professional versus group plus peer versus group only) received 13 treatment sessions and 6 maintenance sessions scheduled over a full year. A self-directed change intervention taught several cognitive-behavioral techniques as they applied to exercise adherence, weight reduction/maintenance, and stress management. Combined treatment groups (n=25) improved significantly more than an assessment only control group (n=9) in weight, percentage body fat, cardiovascular fitness, exercise adherence, health-risk appraisal, chronic tension (MBHI, scale A), and systolic and diastolic blood pressure at both post-treatment and 6-month follow-up assessments. Self-motivation, group treatment attendance, and health-risk appraisal significantly related (r's=.30–.56) to several posttreatment and follow-up measures of behavioral health change. No significant differences were found among the three treatment groups on any of the outcome measures.

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Author information

Correspondence to Siang -Yang Tan.

Additional information

This study was partially funded by the Crescenta-Canada YMCA.

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Clifford, P.A., Tan, S.-. & Gorsuch, R.L. Efficacy of a self-directed behavioral health change program: Weight, body composition, cardiovascular fitness, blood pressure, health risk, and psychosocial mediating variables. J Behav Med 14, 303–323 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00845457

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Key words

  • behavioral health
  • self-directed change
  • weight loss
  • body composition
  • cardiovascular fitness