Date of Completion

Fall 12-15-2020

Thesis Advisor(s)

Tricia Leahey

Honors Major

Cognitive Science


This study examined the effects of four subtypes of social support (tangible, positive interaction, emotional-informational, and affectionate) on caloric intake, adherence to reporting calories, weight, and physical activity, as well as weight loss outcomes in a 4-month online behavioral weight loss intervention. Participants completed social support measures before treatment, had their height taken before treatment, and had their weight measured before and after treatment. Baseline affectionate social support and emotional-informational support both significantly predicted mean caloric intake (p = .008, p < .001, respectively). No baseline types of social support significantly predicted adherence to reporting weight, physical activity minutes or overall adherence to the online program (p’s ≥ .50). None of the assessed types of social support predicted weight loss outcomes or were associated with BMI (p’s ≥ .52). These results suggest that social support types do impact caloric intake and adherence to reporting calories in an online behavioral weight loss program. Further studies are needed to determine the best way to better integrate these social support types into future weight loss interventions.