Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




This study employed behavioral strategies of weight control with obese adolescents. Programs which modified eating habits (Eating Habits) and exercise habits (Exercise) and a combination of the two programs (Eating Habits and Exercise) were compared with a control group (Supportive Group) and a Drop Out Group. Program compliance was assessed and the utility of predictor instruments was studied. The treatment program lasted 12 weeks with seven follow-up meetings over a nine month period. The Eating Habits condition was designed to modify maladaptive eating habits using behavioral techniques. The Exercise condition consisted of establishing exercise programs for individual subjects. Contingency contracting was used to enhance compliance with each program. The Eating Habits and Exercise condition combined the two programs. The Supportive Group used problem solving techniques. Data from Post Treatment and the Nine Month Follow-Up consisted of height, weight, skinfold thicknesses and scores from the predictor instruments. Forty-eight adolescents (five males and forty-three females) were recruited and were equally distributed among the four treatment groups. Attrition rates of 42% and 65% were observed at Post Treatment and at the Nine Month Follow-Up, respectively. Although the attrition rate may have obscured certain trends, none of the hypotheses regarding weight loss or fat reduction as a function of experimental group were supported. The predictors were unsuccessful in predicting weight reduction although there was a significant increase in health related internalization as measured by the Health Locus of Control Scale. There were no observed differences in weight loss or initial scores on the predictor instruments between those individuals designated as Drop Outs and those subjects who completed the weight control program. Research within a school setting was recommended so that future research could be facilitated and the attrition issue remedied.