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J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Jun;108(6):1029-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2008.03.005.

Motivational interviewing in internet groups: a pilot study for weight loss.

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  • 1Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Kentucky, 212A Funkhouser, Lexington, KY 40506-0054, USA.


Motivational interviewing is a technique for developing and maintaining motivation. This pilot study examined the feasibility and acceptability of motivational interviewing in online weight-loss treatment groups. Twenty women participated in the 8-week minimal contact intervention, received weekly e-mailed lessons, and were randomized to two online groups using motivational interviewing, either with or without a discussion of values. Acceptability of format and content was measured following the second online group. Self-reported weight and motivation were measured at baseline and 8 weeks. Qualitative analysis of group transcripts examined self-motivational statements uttered by participants during online groups. Eighty-four percent of participants reported willingness to participate again and were comfortable with the discussion topics. The average number of self-motivational statements uttered by participants did not differ by group (P=0.85) and was correlated with an increase in autonomous motivation during the 8 weeks (r=0.58, P=0.05). Higher autonomous motivation at follow-up was associated with greater weight loss (r=0.51, P<0.05). This study suggests that motivational interviewing techniques are acceptable and may be useful for targeting and maintaining motivation in online weight-loss groups.

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