Psychometric properties of the Weight Locus of Control Scale (MWLCS): study with Spanish individuals of different anthropometric nutritional status



The Multidimensional Weight Locus of Control Scale (MWLCS) measures a person’s beliefs regarding the locus of control or lack of locus of control over his/her body weight.


We aim to evaluate the factorial structure and psychometric properties of the MWLCS with Spanish normal weight, overweight and obese samples.


The research was carried out in two different studies. The first included a sample of 140 normal weight participants, selected out of a 274 sample recruited with an online survey. Study 2 was carried out in a sample of 633 participants recruited from the PREDIMED-Plus study. Out of them, 558 participants fulfilled the weight criteria and were categorized into: overweight (BMI 25 − < 29.99; N = 170), obese class I (BMI 30 − < 34.99; N = 266), and obese class II (BMI 35 − < 39.99; N = 122). Exploratory (EFA) and confirmatory (CFA) factor analyses were used to evaluate the factor structure of the MWLCS, and reliabilities and Spearman’s correlations were estimated. Invariance measurement was tested across the three subgroups of weight in Study 2.


A three-factor structure indicating weight locus of control factors (internal, chance, and powerful others) was supported, both via EFA in the normal weight sample and CFA in the overweight and obese samples. In the normal weight sample, the powerful others dimension was positively related to BMI and the dimensions of the Dutch Eating Behaviors Questionnaire. Additionally, the scale showed evidence of scalar invariance across the groups with different weight conditions.


This scale seems to be a psychometrically appropriate instrument and its use is highly recommended when designing interventions for overweight or obese individuals.

Level of evidence

Level V, descriptive study.

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CIBEROBN is an initiative of the ISCIII (Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain). We thank the PREDIMEDPLUS Biobank Network, part of the National Biobank Platform of Instituto de Salud Carlos III for storing and managing biological samples. We thank to Research Council (Grant 340918) and PROMETEO Grant (17/2017) from the Generalitat Valenciana. The PREDIMED-Plus trial was supported by the official Spanish Institutions for funding scientific biomedical research, CIBER Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición (CIBERobn) and Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII), through the Fondo de Investigación para la Salud (FIS), which is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (four coordinated FIS projects leaded by J.S.-S. and J.Vi., including the following projects: PI13/00673, PI13/00492, PI13/00272, PI13/01123, PI13/00462, PI13/00233, PI13/02184, PI13/00728, PI13/01090, PI13/01056, PI14/01722, PI14/00636, PI14/00618, PI14/00696, PI14/01206, PI14/01919, PI14/00853, PI14/01374, PI14/00972, PI14/00728, PI14/01471, PI16/00473, PI16/00662, PI16/01873, PI16/01094, PI16/00501, PI16/00533, PI16/00381, PI16/00366, PI16/01522, PI16/01120, PI17/00764, PI17/01183, PI17/00855, PI17/01347, PI17/00525, PI17/01827, PI17/00532, PI17/00215, PI17/01441, PI17/00508, PI17/01732, and PI17/00926), the Especial Action Project entitled: Implementación y evaluación de una intervención intensiva sobre la actividad física Cohorte PREDIMED-Plus grant to J.S.-S., the European Research Council (Advanced Research Grant 2013–2018, 340918) to M.Á.M.-G., the Recercaixa grant to J.S.-S. (2013ACUP00194), grants from the Consejería de Salud de la Junta de Andalucía (PI0458/2013, PS0358/2016, and PI0137/2018), a grant from the Generalitat Valenciana (PROMETEO/2017/017), a SEMERGEN grant, and funds from the European Regional Development Fund (CB06/03).

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Correspondence to R. Baños.

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The study protocol and procedures were approved according to the ethical standards of the Declaration of Helsinki by the Research Ethics Committees from all the participating institutions.

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Cebolla, A., Botella, C., Galiana, L. et al. Psychometric properties of the Weight Locus of Control Scale (MWLCS): study with Spanish individuals of different anthropometric nutritional status. Eat Weight Disord 25, 1533–1542 (2020).

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  • Locus of control
  • Obesity
  • Health
  • Weight
  • Multidimensional weight locus of control scale