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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Psychology