Date of Completion


Embargo Period



couples; dyads; weight loss; weight-loss maintenance; home environment; chores; partner support

Major Advisor

Amy A. Gorin

Associate Advisor

Hart Blanton

Associate Advisor

Seth Kalichman

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


The physical and social environment can shape weight-related behaviors. Thus, understanding weight-loss maintenance in context could provide insight regarding ways in which the home environment might be structured to facilitate long-term weight-loss maintenance. This study examined the effects of household structure (perceived household chaos, stressors, and mealtime structure) and partner support (chore inputs and perceptions of fairness) on weight-loss maintenance in couples following a randomized weight-loss intervention. Psychological mediators were also explored (eating self-efficacy, exercise self-efficacy, locus of control, and perceived stress).

Couples (N = 43) were weighed and completed study measures at 12 and 18 months after baseline. Dyadic structural equation models revealed significant effects of the environment and partner inputs on mediators and weight-loss maintenance. Broadly, a lack of environmental structure predicted lower eating and exercise self-efficacy, lower locus of control, and higher stress; chaos and stressors, however, predicted lower BMI at 18 months. Discrepant chore inputs also tended to predict lower BMI at 18 months, higher locus of control, and lower stress. Eating self-efficacy and locus of control predicted successful weight-loss maintenance.

A structured environment tended to predict more positive outcomes on psychological mediators, which predicted weight-loss maintenance (in contrast to unexpected weight-loss maintenance benefits found for chaos and stressors). The fact that discrepant inputs in household chores tended to predict better outcomes at 18 months may reflect patterns of labor division that allow increased focus on meal preparation or exercise. Targeting environmental structure and social forces might improve interventions to support weight-loss maintenance in couples.