The University of Nevada, Reno Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program is federally funded at $231,000.00 annually
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Larry Williams
Research Topic: Weight Loss Program - A Behavior Analytic Approach
Abstract: Obesity is a critical public health issue in the United States because it contributes to serious health and psychological problems and also significantly increases health care costs. It is important to decrease the body mass of obese individuals through evidence-based, cost-effective interventions as it will likely increase wellbeing among these individuals and reduce health care costs. Research shows that in order to lose weight, individuals have to eat fewer calories and engage in more physical activity.
I propose that greater weight loss, as measured by body mass index (BMI), will be attained if behavior analytic approaches are used. The participants, three female obese youth will be provided with the opportunity to acquire a repertoire that enables them to engage in self-monitoring through calorie counting on an e-program, as well as step counting with the use of a pedometer. Step counting and reinforcement will be administered in a changing criterion design.
Goal attainment will be variably reinforced with immediate and delayed continuous direct social reinforcement and tangible reinforcement on a fixed interval schedule. Another major component of this behavioral package is e-feedback with visual coaches, graphs and letter grades, which they will encounter while monitoring their calorie consumption, physical activity and weight online.
This study will be conducted using a reversal ABA design that uses repeated measures of behavior in a setting that requires three phases: (A) an initial baseline phase in which the independent variable is absent, (B) an intervention phase in which the behavior-modification package will be introduced, and (C) a return to baseline phase during which the intervention is removed. It is anticipated that a greater decrease in weight will occur during the treatment phase, when compared to the baseline phase. These results would imply that the proposed behavior-modification package is effective in helping young women lose weight.
New Scholar: Fall 2009
Graduated With Baccalaureate Degree: Fall 2010