Beliefs about weight gain and attitudes toward relapse in a sample of women and men with obesity.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


The purpose of this study was to examine beliefs regarding reasons for weight gain, likely responses to weight loss relapse, notions of reasonable weight loss, and correlations between beliefs and attitudes in a large nonclinical sample of men and women with obesity.

Research methods and procedures

Participants were 3,394 white women (n=1,674) and men (n=1,720) with obesity who had responded to a survey about body image and eating behaviors conducted by Consumer Reports magazine.


Women and men indicated that the most important reasons for their weight gain were lack of exercise and enjoying eating; the least important reason was a need to avoid social or sexual situations. Both groups reported that their most likely response to relapse is to start watching food intake, whereas their least likely response is to ask a friend, spouse, or family member for help. Women rated depression, stress, low self-esteem, and need to avoid situations as more important reasons for their weight gain than did men, and women were more likely to feel terrible and regain as a response to relapse. There was no relationship between an individual's beliefs about weight gain, responses to relapse, or notions of reasonable weight loss.


Implications of these findings for the treatment of obesity are discussed.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cachelin, FM; Striegel-Moore, RH; Brownell, KD

Published Date

  • May 1998

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 6 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 231 - 237

PubMed ID

  • 9618128

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1550-8528

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1071-7323

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/j.1550-8528.1998.tb00342.x


  • eng