Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 81–92

Changes in self-efficacy and dietary adherence: the impact on weight loss in the PREFER study

  • Melanie T. Warziski
  • Susan M. Sereika
  • Mindi A. Styn
  • Edvin Music
  • Lora E. Burke


Findings from studies examining self-efficacy and its relationship to weight loss have been inconsistent. We examined self-efficacy specific to changing eating behaviors in the PREFER trial, an 18-month behavioral weight-loss study, to determine if self-efficacy and dietary adherence were associated with weight change, and what impact self-efficacy had on weight change after controlling for adherence. Measurements included the weight efficacy lifestyle (WEL) questionnaire, body weight, self-reported fat gram intake, kilocalorie intake, and adherence to kilocalorie and fat gram goals at baseline, 6, 12, and 18 months. The sample (N = 170) was 88.2% female and 70.0% Caucasian; the mean age was 44.1 years (SD = 8.8). Mean weight loss at 18 months was 4.64% (SD = 6.24) of baseline body weight and the mean increase in self-efficacy was 11.70% (SD = 38.61). Self-efficacy improved significantly over time (p = 0.04) and was associated with weight loss (p = 0.02). Adherence to the fat gram goal was associated with weight loss (p = 0.0003), and self-efficacy remained associated with weight loss after controlling for fat gram adherence (p = 0.0001). Consistent with self-efficacy theory, improvement in self-efficacy over time supported greater weight loss. Adherence to the fat gram goal also influenced weight loss.


Weight loss Self-efficacy Adherence Vegetarian diet Obesity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melanie T. Warziski
    • 1
  • Susan M. Sereika
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Mindi A. Styn
    • 1
  • Edvin Music
    • 1
  • Lora E. Burke
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Health & Community Systems DepartmentUniversity of Pittsburgh School of NursingPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Graduate School of Public Health, Department of BiostatisticsUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  3. 3.Graduate School of Public Health, Department of EpidemiologyUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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