The Effects of a 12-Month, Small Changes Group Intervention on Weight Loss and Menopausal Symptoms in Overweight Women


To better understand how psychological principles related to goal-setting and motivation can be applied to the problem of obesity and menopausal symptoms, we examined the effectiveness of a Small Changes Intervention (SCI) program on forty-five overweight (BMI = 33.67 ± 7.03) women (mean age = 50.14 ± 12.16). Grounded in task motivation theory (cf. Locke & Latham, 2002), our SCI group therapy approach instituted small and maintainable steps in nutrition and physical activity to promote weight loss and a reduction in menopausal symptoms. Body weight, Body Mass Index (BMI), and scores on the Greene Climacteric Scale were assessed at Baseline (pre-intervention), 3-month post-treatment, 6-month follow-up, and 12-month follow-up. By the end of the 12-month study, 20 women were still participating and had lost, on average, 6.4% of their body weight, and had experienced a significant reduction in BMI, (BMI = 30.9 ± 6.13), providing further support for the SCI approach as an effective weight loss intervention method. Cross-sectional correlational analyses found expected associations between obesity and menopausal symptoms at the follow-up assessments. These relationships were especially strong by the last assessment period. Most importantly, menopausal symptoms decreased over the duration of the intervention. Taken together, these results suggest that the longitudinal impact of SCI on weight and BMI can have a positive impact on menopausal symptoms. These findings underscore the importance of applying well-researched social psychological principles in goal setting to the problem of obesity and menopausal symptoms. Furthermore, the results obtained from the SCI approach suggest that that while obese individuals may experience increased symptoms of menopause, the process of losing excess body weight through achievement of small, achievable goals has the potential to improve menopausal symptoms.

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Daiss, S. , Wayment, H. & Blackledge, S. (2013). The Effects of a 12-Month, Small Changes Group Intervention on Weight Loss and Menopausal Symptoms in Overweight Women. Psychology, 4, 197-204. doi: 10.4236/psych.2013.43A030.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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