Daily self-weighing and adverse psychological outcomes: a randomized controlled trial.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Despite evidence that daily self-weighing is an effective strategy for weight control, concerns remain regarding the potential for negative psychological consequences.


The goal of the study was to examine the impact of a daily self-weighing weight-loss intervention on relevant psychological constructs.


A 6-month RCT.


The study sample (N=91) included overweight men and women in the Chapel Hill NC area.


Between February and August 2011, participants were randomly assigned to a daily self-weighing intervention or delayed-intervention control group. The 6-month intervention included daily self-weighing for self-regulation of diet and exercise behaviors using an e-scale that transmitted weights to a study website. Weekly e-mailed lessons and tailored feedback on daily self-weighing adherence and weight-loss progress were provided.

Main outcome measures

Self-weighing frequency was measured throughout the study using e-scales. Weight was measured in-clinic at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months. Psychological outcomes were assessed via self-report at the same time points.


In 2012, using linear mixed models and generalized estimating equation models, there were no significant differences between groups in depressive symptoms, anorectic cognitions, disinhibition, susceptibility to hunger, and binge eating. At 6 months, there was a significant group X time interaction for body dissatisfaction (p=0.007) and dietary restraint (p<0.001), with the intervention group reporting lower body dissatisfaction and greater dietary restraint compared to controls.


Results indicate that a weight-loss intervention that focuses on daily self-weighing does not cause adverse psychological outcomes. This suggests that daily self-weighing is an effective and safe weight-control strategy among overweight adults attempting to lose weight.

Trial registration

This study is registered at clinicaltrials.gov NCT01369004.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Steinberg, DM; Tate, DF; Bennett, GG; Ennett, S; Samuel-Hodge, C; Ward, DS

Published Date

  • January 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 46 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 24 - 29

PubMed ID

  • 24355668

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4157390

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-2607

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0749-3797

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.08.006


  • eng