Eating pathology and psychological outcomes in young adults in self-regulation interventions using daily self-weighing

Academic Article


  • Objective: Self-regulation interventions encouraging daily weighing prevent weight gain in young adults; however, concerns have been raised that such interventions may have undesirable effects on eating pathology, depression, and health-related quality of life (HRQL). The present study examined whether self-regulation interventions and self-weighing frequency were associated with these indices in normal weight individuals and those with overweight or obesity. Methods: Young adults (n = 599), 18-35 years with a body mass index (BMI) 21.0-30.9 kg/m2 were randomized to control, self-regulation with small changes (SC) or self-regulation with large changes (LC). Interventions taught frequent self-weighing to guide behavioral changes. SC prescribed daily small decreases in intake and increases in physical activity. LC prescribed a 5- to 10-lb weight loss to buffer against anticipated gains. Psychological indices were assessed at baseline and periodically over 2 years of follow-up. Results: There was no evidence that the interventions increased depressive symptoms or compensatory behaviors or decreased HRQL relative to control. LC increased flexible and rigid control and SC decreased disinhibition. Results did not differ by weight status with the exception of rigid control; here, differences between LC and the other conditions were smaller among those with BMI ≥ 25. Greater self-weighing frequency over time was associated with increases in flexible and rigid control, dietary restraint, and improvements in HRQL. Conclusions: The self-regulation interventions and increases in self-weighing had no untoward effects. Encouraging weight gain prevention in young adults through frequent weighing and self-regulation appears to be safe for normal weight young adults and those with overweight.
  • Published In

  • Health Psychology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Gorin AA; Gokee Larose J; Espeland MA; Tate DF; Jelalian E; Robichaud E; Coward P; Hatley KE; Garcia KR; Lang W
  • Start Page

  • 143
  • End Page

  • 150
  • Volume

  • 38
  • Issue

  • 2