Benefits of recruiting participants with friends and increasing social support for weight loss and maintenance

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1999 Feb;67(1):132-8. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.67.1.132.


To determine the benefits of social support for weight loss and maintenance, this study recruited participants (N = 166) either alone or with 3 friends or family members and then randomly assigned them to a standard behavioral treatment (SBT) or SBT with social support strategies. Participants recruited with friends had greater weight losses at the end of the 4-month treatment and at Month 10 follow-up. Both recruitment strategy and the social support manipulation affected treatment completion and weight-loss maintenance. In those recruited alone and given SBT, 76% completed treatment and 24% maintained their weight loss in full from Months 4 to 10. Among those recruited with friends and given SBT plus social support, 95% completed treatment and 66% maintained their weight loss in full.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diet, Reducing / methods
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Patient Compliance / psychology*
  • Peer Group
  • Social Support*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss*