There is growing body of research that suggests that individuals’ beliefs about body weight, herein called mindsets, are associated with a variety of health-relevant outcomes including eating and exercise behavior (for a review, see Burnette, Hoyt, & Orvidas, 2017). Although research is mounting, the literature lacks clarity as to which beliefs about weight are most important for predicting these health-relevant outcomes or even how to consistently define weight mindsets. The primary aim of this dissertation was to examine the value of a new perspective on weight beliefs. Study 1 led to the development of the Weight and Resources Mindset Questionnaire (WARM), a new, empirically validated, 12-item, four-factor measure of weight mindset that determines the extent to which individuals 1) are content or not content with their weight, 2) believe weight is changeable, 3) are content or not content with their access to weight management resources, and 4) believe they can increase their access to weight management resources. Studies 2 and 3 were part I and II of an explanatory sequential design. Study 2, a quantitative study, demonstrated that latent profile analysis of the WARM resulted in eight weight mindset classifications, and that an examination of differences in weight-related attitudes and behaviors (e.g. fruit and vegetable consumption, weight bias internalization) across these eight mindsets revealed patterns of findings not possible with already existing measures of weight mindset. For Study 3, qualitative interviews provided insights into the histories and general weight-related experiences and beliefs of individuals across weight mindsets. These findings were then integrated with the Study 2 findings to generate descriptions and labels for each of the eight weight mindsets. Together, these studies provide a new foundation for the systematic study of weight mindsets.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2019. Major: Psychology. Advisors: Alexander Rothman, Traci Mann. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 216 pages.
You Are What You Think: The Development and Initial Examination of a New Measure of Weight Mindset.
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