Self-efficacy in weight management

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1991 Oct;59(5):739-44. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.59.5.739.


Self-efficacy is an important mediating mechanism in advancing understanding of the treatment of obesity. This study developed and validated the Weight Efficacy Life-Style Questionnaire (WEL), improving on previous studies by the use of clinical populations, cross-validation of the initial factor analysis, exploration of the best fitting theoretical model of self-efficacy, and examination of change in treatment. The resulting 20-item WEL consists of five situational factors: Negative Emotions, Availability, Social Pressure, Physical Discomfort, and Positive Activities. A hierarchical model was found to provide the best fit to the data. Results from two separate clinical treatment studies (total N = 382) show that the WEL is sensitive to changes in global scores as well as to a subset of the five situational factor scores. Treatment programs may be incomplete if they change only a subset of the situational dimensions of self-efficacy. Theoretical and clinical implications are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diabetes Mellitus / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / psychology*
  • Diet, Reducing / psychology*
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Self Concept*
  • Weight Loss*