Community Mental Health Providers’ Beliefs About Addressing Weight Loss Among Youth Clients with Serious Emotional Disturbance and Overweight/Obesity: An Elicitation Study

  • Thomas L. Wykes
  • Katelynn A. Bourassa
  • Andrea E. Slosser
  • Christine L. McKibbin
Original Paper


Youth with Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED) have high rates of overweight/obesity. Factors influencing mental health provider intentions to deliver weight-related advice are unclear. This study used qualitative methodology and Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) constructs to examine these factors. Community mental health providers serving youth with SED were recruited via convenience sampling and an online provider list. Participants completed an open-ended TPB-based questionnaire online. Content analysis identified thematic beliefs. Twenty-one providers completed the questionnaire. Providers identified behavioral beliefs (e.g., client defensiveness), normative beliefs (e.g., medical professionals), and control beliefs (e.g., limited resources) that impact decisions to provide weight-related advice. Knowledge of factors that may influence providers’ delivery of weight-related advice may lead to more effective healthy lifestyle programming for youth with SED.


Serious emotional disturbance Youth Obesity Community mental health Intervention 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WyomingLaramieUSA

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