Psychological and Behavioral Predictors of Weight Loss During Drug Treatment for Obesity

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2001 Mar;25(3):340-5. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0801551.


Objective: This study investigated whether baseline eating behavior, emotions, and body image were significant predictors of change in body mass index (BMI) over 6 month and 12 month time intervals for individuals enrolled in a weight loss program that combined appetite suppressant medications and behavior therapy for obesity.

Method: Participants were asked to complete self-report questionnaires at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months. In addition, their height and weight were measured and they were administered a body image assessment procedure at each time interval.

Results: At baseline, perceived hunger, dietary restraint, current body size, and trait anxiety were important components in a model for prediction of weight loss at 6 months. Perceived hunger, dietary restraint, and current body size as measured at baseline were important components in the prediction of weight loss at 12 months. These predictive variables, together with gender and initial BMI, accounted for 48.6% of the variance in weight loss at 6 months and 51.7% of the variance in weight loss at 12 months.

Discussion: These findings suggest that scores on certain paper and pencil tests may be useful as predictors of success or failure for individuals entering a weight loss program using pharmacological and behavioral interventions.

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety*
  • Appetite Depressants / therapeutic use
  • Body Image*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Weight Loss*


  • Appetite Depressants