The role of self-efficacy, coping, and lapses in weight maintenance

Janet D. Latner, Geraldine McLeod, Kerry S. O'Brien, Lucy Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Successful weight maintenance after weight loss is exceedingly rare. The present study aimed to identify psychological predictors of lapses and weight maintenance. Methods: Self-efficacy, coping, and perceptions of lapses were examined as potential predictors of lapse frequency and weight maintenance (percentage weight loss maintained). Participants included 67 adults (85.3 % women) who had intentionally lost a mean of 16 % of their body weight and had stopped losing weight at least 6 months prior to data collection. Participants completed a 7-day lapse diary tracking the frequency and perceived severity of their dietary and activity lapses, along with questionnaires on self-efficacy, coping, and characteristics of their weight loss. Results: Participants had lost a mean of 13.9 kg, 20.4 months prior to data collection. More frequent lapsing was correlated with lower self-efficacy and greater perceived lapse severity. Lower percentage of weight loss maintained was correlated with lower self-efficacy, poorer coping, greater perceived lapse severity, and longer time since weight loss ended. "Regainers," who maintained <90 % of their weight loss, had poorer self-efficacy, poorer coping, greater lapse frequency, and greater perceived lapse severity, than "maintainers," who maintained at least 90 % of their weight loss. Conclusions: The results suggest that self-efficacy, coping, and perceived lapse severity are significant predictors of weight maintenance, consistent with the relapse prevention model. The goals of improving self-efficacy and coping skills might be important additions to weight maintenance programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-366
Number of pages8
JournalEating and Weight Disorders
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


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