Individual versus group therapy for obesity: effects of matching participants to their treatment preferences

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2001 Aug;69(4):717-21.


This study examined the effects of matching participants to treatments on the basis of their preferences for either individual or group therapy for obesity. Seventy-five obese adults who expressed a clear preference for either individual or group therapy were randomly assigned to either their preferred or their nonpreferred treatment modality within a 2 (individual vs. group therapy) x 2 (preferred vs. nonpreferred modality) factorial design. At posttreatment, group therapy produced significantly greater reductions in weight and body mass than individual therapy, and no significant effects were observed for treatment preference or the interaction for treatment preference by type of therapy. All treatment conditions showed equivalent improvements in psychological functioning. These findings suggest that group therapy produces greater weight loss than individual therapy, even among those clients who express a preference for individual treatment.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Psychotherapy*
  • Psychotherapy, Group*
  • Weight Loss