Promoting healthy weight with "stability skills first": a randomized trial

Michaela Kiernan, Susan D. Brown, Danielle E. Schoffman, Katherine Lee, Abby C. King, C. Barr Taylor, Nina C. Schleicher, Michael G. Perri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Although behavioral weight-loss interventions produce short-term weight loss, long-term maintenance remains elusive. This randomized trial examined whether learning a novel set of "stability skills" before losing weight improved long-term weight management. Stability skills were designed to optimize individuals' current satisfaction with lifestyle and self-regulatory habits while requiring the minimum effort and attention necessary.

METHOD: Overweight/obese women (N = 267) were randomly assigned to one of two 6-month interventions and assessed at baseline and at 6, 12, and 18 months. Maintenance First women participated first in an 8-week stability skills maintenance module and then in a standard 20-week behavioral weight-loss program. Weight Loss First women participated first in a standard 20-week behavioral weight-loss program and then in a standard 8-week problem-solving skills maintenance module. There was no intervention staff contact during the 12-month follow-up period (6-18 months).

RESULTS: As designed, Maintenance First participants lost the same percentage of initial weight during the 6-month intervention period as Weight Loss First participants (M = -8.6%, SD = 5.7, vs. M = -9.1%, SD = 6.9; t = -0.6, p = .52). However, Maintenance First participants regained significantly less weight during the 12-month follow-up period (6-18 months) than Weight Loss First participants (M = 3.2 lb, SD = 10.4, vs. M = 7.3 lb, SD = 9.9 [M = 1.4 kg, SD = 4.7, vs. M = 3.3 kg, SD = 4.5]; t = 3.3, p = .001, d = 0.4).

CONCLUSION: Learning stability skills before losing weight was successful in helping women to maintain weight loss without intervention staff contact during follow-up. These results can inform the study design of future innovative interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-346
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Volume81
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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