Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 87–98 | Cite as

Guided imagery targeting exercise, food cravings, and stress: a multi-modal randomized feasibility trial

  • Peter GiacobbiJr.Email author
  • Dustin Long
  • Richard Nolan
  • Samantha Shawley
  • Kelsey Johnson
  • Ranjita Misra


The purpose of this randomized wait-list controlled trial was to test the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a guided imagery based multi-behavior intervention intended to address psychological stress, food cravings, and physical activity. Personalized guided imagery scripts were created and participants were instructed to practice guided imagery every day for 35 consecutive days. Of 48 women who enrolled, we report comparisons between 16 randomized to treatment with 19 who were wait-listed (overall Mage = 45.50; Mbodymassindex = 31.43). Study completers reported 89% compliance with practicing guided imagery during the intervention. A significant time-by-group interaction was observed with reductions in food cravings and increases in physical activity compared with wait-list controls. Telephone-based multi-behavior interventions that utilize guided imagery to address food cravings and exercise behavior appear to be acceptable for overweight and obese women. Future phone-based guided imagery research testing this skill to address multiple health behaviors is justified.


Food cravings Exercise Stress Guided imagery 



This publication is a product of the West Virginia Prevention Research Center and was supported by Cooperative Agreement Number 1-U48-DP-005004 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Authors Peter Giacobbi, Jr., Dustin Long, Richard Nolan, Samantha Shawley, Kelsey Johnson, and Ranjita Misra declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Human and animal rights and Informed consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sport Sciences, Joint Appointment, Social and Behavioral SciencesWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biostatistics, School of Public HealthUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA
  3. 3.School of MedicineWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA
  4. 4.School of Public HealthWest Virginia UnivesityMorgantownUSA
  5. 5.Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, School of Public HealthWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

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