Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology


Obesity is a growing concern in the United States as two-thirds of the population is clinically overweight or obese, a condition that carries with it a myriad of physical and mental health concerns. To address these concerns, many programs have been designed to incorporate evidence-based obesity prevention; however, few have addressed the needs of high risk middle school rural children. The current study examined the effectiveness of a specific obesity prevention program designed to decrease risk of obesity by helping female students increase daily physical activity to recommended levels. This program is designed to provide daily and weekly motivational incentives and encouragement, weekly psychoeducational groups, and individual check-in sessions to discuss goal setting, address potential barriers, and work with resistance. Student volunteers were randomly assigned to either the intervention or wait-list control group and all participants were evaluated for mood, self-efficacy, and motivation for activity at Times 1, 2, and 3. No statistical significance was found; however, a large main effect exists for exercise motivation. These findings suggest that this program shows promising potential for improving motivation for exercise participation, which may help to decrease future risk of obesity and obesity-related conditions.

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