Directionality in the Relationship of Self-regulation, Self-efficacy, and Mood Changes in Facilitating Improved Physical Activity and Nutrition Behaviors: Extending Behavioral Theory to Improve Weight-Loss Treatment Effects

James J. Annesi, Kennesaw State University
Linda L. Vaughn


Objective To improve understanding of directionality in the dynamic relationships among psychosocial predictors of behavioral changes associated with weight loss. Methods In women with obesity participating in a new behavioral weight-loss treatment that emphasizes physical activity (n = 53; body mass index = 34.7 ± 3.3 kg/m2), mediation and moderated-mediation models were fit to assess directionality in the self-efficacy–self-regulation change relationship and additional effects of mood change and its basis on fruit/vegetable intake and physical activity behaviors through month 6 and from months 6 to 24. Results Self-regulation was a stronger predictor of change in self-efficacy than vice versa. Mood change did not moderate the relationships significantly between changes in self-efficacy and/or self-regulation, and weight loss behavior. Emotional eating significantly changed mediated relationships between changes in mood and fruit/vegetable intake through month 6 (95% confidence interval, –0.05 to 0.00). Conclusions and Implications Findings clarified relationships of self-efficacy, self-regulation, and mood in the prediction of weight loss behaviors, and informed behavioral treatments for improved outcomes.