Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Mary Lou Kelley


The number of children and adolescents effected by obesity has been increasing over the past 30 years. Current treatment of childhood obesity focuses primarily on increasing physical activity, modifying diet, providing nutritional education and teaching self-monitoring and stimulus control procedures. Although children have been shown to lose weight by participating in these treatment programs, the amount of weight children lose during treatment is often small, and long-term maintenance of weightloss continues to be challenging for many. Given the relatively weak outcome of childhood obesity treatment programs, research into factors that effect treatment outcome is needed. Psychological distress and problematic behavior are known to be associated with childhood obesity. However, investigations into their relationship with weightloss during treatment are limited. The current study examined the relationship between children's psycho-social distress and their outcome in an obesity treatment program. Unlike existing studies, this investigation included children's self-report of their psycho-social distress along with the parents' report for use in predicting children's weightloss success. The results of this study found that both parents and children provide unique information with regard to children's success in a group obesity treatment program as measured by a decrease in their BMI scores, and parents were the sole reporter of unique information about their children's internalizing difficulties that predicted their children's attendance in treatment.