Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Dietetics and Nutrition

First Advisor's Name

Michele Ciccazzo

First Advisor's Title

Committee Co-Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Zisca Dixon

Second Advisor's Title

Committee Co-Chair

Third Advisor's Name

Leslie Frazier

Fourth Advisor's Name

Robert Dollinger

Fifth Advisor's Name

Susan Himburg

Keywords

weight-concerned smokers, cognitive behavioral therapy, weight control program, self-efficacy

Date of Defense

6-6-2008

Abstract

Many people use smoking as a weight control mechanism and do not want to quit because they fear weight gain. These weight-concerned smokers tend to be female, are significantly less likely to stop smoking, are less likely to join smoking cessation programs, and will relapse more often than smokers who are not weight-concerned. Research suggests that a woman’s confidence in her ability to control her weight after quitting relates positively with her intention to quit smoking. Likewise, success in smoking cessation has been associated with increased self-efficacy for weight control. It has been shown that success in changing one negative health behavior may trigger success in changing another, causing a synergistic effect. Recently research has focused on interventions for weight-concerned smokers who are ready to quit smoking. The present study investigated the effect of a cognitive based weight control program on self-efficacy for weight control and the effect on smoking behavior for a group of female weight concerned smokers. Two hundred and sixteen subjects who wanted to lose weight but who were not ready to quit smoking were recruited to participate in a 12-week, cognitive-behavioral weight control program consisting of twelve one-hour sessions. Subjects were randomly assigned to either 1) the weight-control program (intervention group), or 2) the control group. Results of this study demonstrated that subjects in the intervention group increased self-efficacy for weight control, which was associated with improved healthy eating index scores, weight loss, increased self-efficacy for quitting smoking, a decrease in number of cigarettes smoked and triggered positive movement in stage of change towards smoking cessation compared to the control subjects. For these subjects, positive changes in self-efficacy for one behavior (weight control) appeared to have a positive effect on their readiness to change another health behavior (smoking cessation). Further study of the psychological variables that influence weight-concerned female smokers’ decisions to initiate changes in these behaviors and their ability to maintain those changes are warranted.

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