Date of Award

5-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

B. Evan Blaine

Second Supervisor

Christine Nelson-Tuttle

Abstract

Long-term weight-loss maintenance is challenging and a high level of failure is associated with long-term weight loss. The current research and health recommendations stress the need for research on strategies for maintaining weight loss. Researchers aim to understand what motivates individuals to adhere to weight-loss maintenance. The purpose of this study was to understand weight-loss maintenance and identify the predictors of successful weight-loss maintenance among adults. The theoretical rationale for this study, self-determination theory (SDT), suggests the existence of three fundamental psychological needs, autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Mixed methods analysis of a community organization that offers prevention and wellness resources to families and individuals was used. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses delivered an examination on how obese adults can lose significant amounts of weight and maintain those losses. Quantitative results indicated that, together, the factors of SDT do not predict whether individuals will maintain weight loss. However, at the univariate level autonomous motivation and amotivation were associated with a decreased likelihood of long-term weight-loss maintenance. The study’s qualitative results suggested strategies that support long-term weight-loss maintenance. The study’s findings offer guidance to health and wellness community organizations, the medical community, policymakers, and individuals struggling with weight-loss maintenance. Suggestions for future research to draw distinctions between strategies used to lose versus maintain weight, deliver individual support in a coordinated group setting, and policies and practices that facilitate more effective social support in medical settings were given. Outcomes from this study could be important to the establishment of successful weight maintenance interventions.

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