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Keywords:

  • Child and adolescent obesity;
  • healthy obsession;
  • immersion CBT treatment

Summary

The Healthy Obsession Model posits that successful weight controllers must develop a preoccupation with the planning and execution of target behaviours, including eating on programme, consistent activity and self-monitoring. When barriers emerge, committed weight controllers are expected to feel distressed (e.g. anxious or frustrated), which should motivate them to reinstate these behaviours. This study investigated the effects on moods of sudden withdrawal of self-monitoring among obese adolescents within an immersion treatment programme. Fifty-five (55% female) adolescents participated in a weight loss camp and received four weekly cognitive-behaviour therapy sessions focused on maximizing commitment to programme behaviours. During the fourth week, campers and staff completed daily mood ratings using the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule. After 3 d of ratings, campers' self-monitoring journals were removed without warning for 1 d. As expected, journal removal resulted in decreased positive affect for the campers, according to staff ratings. Also in accord with hypotheses, campers who demonstrated heightened commitment to the programme based on higher levels of activity and more writing in their journals reacted more negatively to the withdrawal of the opportunity to self-monitor. Mood ratings by campers did not show the effects hypothesized by the Healthy Obsession Model. These results provide preliminary support for the Healthy Obsession Model by showing some of the anticipated negative reactions to the removal of access to self-monitoring, especially among those who demonstrated strong commitments to the process.