Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences


Sport and Exercise Psychology

Committee Chair

Samuel Zizzi


The purpose of this study was to investigate perceptions of self-esteem and body image and expectations for success among participants enrolled in a physical activity and nutritional intervention for weight loss. Qualitative research methods (individual interviews) were conducted to assess how participants felt about themselves, their bodies, and the intervention. In all, 10 participants were interviewed; five were in the initial week of the weight loss intervention (Phase I) and five had been enrolled in the intervention between 9--13 months (Phase II). Weight in pounds and body fat percentage were obtained for all participants at time of enrollment, and at the time of interview completion. Several themes were identified, including similar participant characteristics, key program characteristics, the primacy of physical self-esteem, and changes to self-esteem. The results suggest that similar participant characteristics, duration of treatment, and sequencing of physical activity and nutritional components be considered for design and application of weight loss interventions. In addition, the incorporation of a psychological component addressing self-esteem and self-acceptance in order to improve well-being and motivation may help participants adhere to behavioral changes in the long-term.