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Spadaro, Kathleen C (2008) WEIGHT LOSS: EXPLORING SELF-REGULATION THROUGH MINDFULNESS MEDITATION. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Increasing rates of overweight/obese adults, with corresponding increases in health risks, obesity-related illnesses, and health costs have not been significantly impacted despite research and commercial attempts to provide recommended weight loss strategies. Mindfulness Meditation (MM) teaches individuals to increase their awareness in the present moment which may offer an additional strategy to weight loss interventions. This study explored the effects of MM combined with standard behavioral weight loss intervention (SBWP) on short-term weight loss, physical activity, eating behaviors, food intake and mindfulness in overweight/obese adults. Additionally, adherence, feasibility and acceptability of MM were explored through retention, attendance, diary return rate, MM practice and qualitative interviewing.This exploratory mixed methods study was a 24 week randomized controlled trial that compared SBWP and Standard Behavioral Weight Loss Program plus Mindfulness Meditation (SBWP+MM) followed by a qualitative interview that explored the experiences of 12 SBWP+MM participants. The sample which was randomized between treatment groups included 46 overweight/obese, 87% female, mean age 45.2 years (SD=8.2), mean weight 91.9 kg. (SD=12.8), 21.7% African American, and 78% college-educated adults living in the Pittsburgh area. Outcome measures of weight, physical activity, eating behavior, food intake and mindfulness were explored at three time points. Data analysis was based on intention-to-treat with linear mixed effects modeling and general linear modeling.Thirty-five subjects (76%) completed the study. Mean total weight loss was 5.48 kg (SD=2.01) with a significant decrease in food intake (p<.00) and significant increase in physical activity and healthy eating behaviors (p<.000). There was a mean greater weight loss in the SBWP+MM group (6.89kg compared to 4.07kg). Only eating behaviors significantly improved in the SBWP+MM group based on the results of linear mixed effects modeling (p=.034). The SBWP+MM group had higher rates of retention (86.4%) and attendance (75%) and a difference in diary return (15 weeks versus 12 weeks). The overarching SBWP+MM qualitative theme of expanding mindfulness in personal life flowed from taking time intentionally for self to lifestyle changes.The exploratory results, eating behavior significance and other outcome differences in the SBWP+MM group suggest that a larger sample size over a longer period of time may find further statistical and clinical significance. In light of the current obesity epidemic, hypothesis testing of MM could lead to enhanced weight loss interventions for this overweight/obese population.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Spadaro, Kathleen
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCohen, Susan Merlecohensu@pitt.eduCOHENSU
Committee MemberJakicic, John Mjjakicic@pitt.eduJJAKICIC
Committee MemberHamilton, Rebekahhamilr@pitt.eduHAMILR
Committee MemberSereika, Susan Mssereika@pitt.eduSSEREIKA
Date: 20 August 2008
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 24 July 2008
Approval Date: 20 August 2008
Submission Date: 19 August 2008
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Nursing > Nursing
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: behavioral weight loss; meditation; mindfulness-based stress reduction; obesity
Other ID:, etd-08192008-164529
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:00
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:49


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