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Weight Status and Decision Making in a Food Selection Task

Title: Weight Status and Decision Making in a Food Selection Task.
Name(s): Gray, Brian C., 1970-, author
Kelly, F. Donald, professor directing dissertation
Tate, Richard, outside committee member
Peterson, Gary, committee member
Tenenbaum, Gershon, committee member
Jeong, Allan, committee member
Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2006
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Americans are the most overweight and obese individuals in the world, and these conditions are associated with many negative physical and psychological conditions. Health psychology research has adequately explained intention and initiation of weight-loss behaviors, but has had less success with their long term maintenance. Additionally, the psycho-social mechanisms that translate intention into action remain hidden and health psychology research relies on time-general designs relating baseline construct assessments to later behavioral performance. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among weight status, decision-making, and nutritional outcomes in an immediate, in-the-moment food selection task to determine whether obese and normal weight individuals make food-related decisions in fundamentally different ways. Twenty-four obese and 23 normal weight participants received instructions about verbalizing decisions and, after two practice tasks, asked to talk aloud as they selected dinner items from a simulated menu from a well-known fast food restaurant. Following protocol analysis guidelines, the verbalizations were recorded, transcribed, and segmented into discrete "thought units", which were coded as one of six possible decision processes. Group differences in the proportions these single units comprised of group totals and, following sequential analysis guidelines, proportional distributions of conditional two-unit sequences were analyzed using chi-square analyses. Results indicated significant differences between the groups in terms of their use of "opposing arguments" in their decision process. Results also indicated significant differences between the groups in terms of two-thought sequences. After proposing an item for consideration, normal weight participants offered more supporting and opposing arguments while obese participants delayed decision making and rejected items. Results indicated that normal weight and obese participants made food-related decisions differently. These findings shed light on cognitive processes involved when individuals decide among food items. Future research can build upon this topic and these methods to eventually develop a thorough understanding of in-the-moment food selection. These findings have clinical relevance as they may be used to help obese individuals make food decisions differently. Clinicians may help clients understand how they make food decisions and help them change their food decisions style in order to increase their chances of long term weight loss success.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-4028 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Fall Semester, 2006.
Date of Defense: October 17, 2006.
Keywords: Decision Making, Obesity, Protocol Analysis, Sequential Analysis, Chi Square, Weight Status
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: F. Donald Kelly, Professor Directing Dissertation; Richard Tate, Outside Committee Member; Gary Peterson, Committee Member; Gershon Tenenbaum, Committee Member; Allan Jeong, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Educational psychology
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

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Gray, B. C. (2006). Weight Status and Decision Making in a Food Selection Task. Retrieved from