Background: Regulatory focus theory proposes two self-regulatory systems: promotion focus—related to fulfilling aspirations and maximizing positive outcomes—and prevention focus—related to fulfilling responsibilities and avoiding negative outcomes. Building on research demonstrating associations between regulatory focus and weight outcomes, a proof-of-concept weight control intervention framed intervention procedures in terms of promotion or prevention focus and descriptively examined whether the impact of the intervention conditions depended on dispositional regulatory focus. Methods: After random assignment to control (received pamphlet on diet and physical activity), promotion, or prevention conditions (1.5-hour baseline sessions; detailed manuals; 1-hour sessions at 3 months), community participants from a metropolitan area in the United States (N = 57; age M = 40; BMI M = 30.9) completed the Regulatory Focus Questionnaire and were weighed at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months. Longitudinal analysis was conducted with SAS Proc Mixed using restricted maximum likelihood estimation. Results: Estimated weight change was -2.99 kg, 95% CI [-4.65, -1.32], in the promotion condition, -1.70 kg, 95% CI [-3.29, -0.12], in the prevention condition, and -0.18 kg, 95% CI [-1.42, 1.05], in the control condition. Exploratory analyses revealed that for relatively more promotion-focused participants, estimated weight change was -1.43 kg, 95% CI [-3.38, 0.51], in the promotion condition, +0.48 kg, 95% CI [-1.01, 1.97], in the prevention condition, and -1.09 kg, 95% CI [-2.32, 0.14], in the control condition. For relatively more prevention-focused participants, estimated weight change was -5.19 kg, 95% CI [-7.14, -3.25], in the promotion condition, -3.35 kg, 95% CI [-4.83, -1.86], in the prevention condition, and +0.42 kg, 95% CI [-0.81, 1.65], in the control condition. Conclusions: Results suggest that self-directed, promotion-focused interventions may be effective and that tailoring to self-regulatory dispositions may not be of additional benefit in initiating weight loss.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||International Journal of Behavioral Medicine|
|State||Accepted/In press - 2023|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Award T32DK083250 and by a Minnesota Obesity Consortium Pilot and Feasibility Grant.
© 2023, International Society of Behavioral Medicine.
- Regulatory fit theory
- Regulatory focus theory
- Self-directed intervention
- Weight loss