Developing computer-assisted therapy for the treatment of obesity

W. Stewart Agras, C. Barr Taylor, Daniel E. Feldman, Martha Losch, Kent F. Burnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Ninety mild to moderately overweight women participated in a study examining the potential utility of a hand-held computer in the treatment of overweight. The study compared the use of a computer with one introductory session; computer therapy with four additional group support sessions; and a therapist conducted weight loss program, in a randomized design. The weight losses in all three groups were modest being approximately half of that expected. No differences in weight losses were found between groups to one-year follow-up, nor were differences found on process measures, suggesting that ambulatory computer treatment is as effective, in terms of education and outcome, as therapist conducted treatment. The computer without group support was significantly more cost-effective at immediate outcome than the other two groups. There was some indication, however, that group support may enhance long-term maintenance of weight loss, thus the cost advantage for the computer alone group declined over the follow-up period. Further developmental work is needed to ascertain whether robust weight losses can be achieved with a hand-held computer or whether this method has inherent limitations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-109
Number of pages11
JournalBehavior Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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