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Confirmation and Weight Management: Predicting Effective Levels of Acceptance and Challenge in Weight Management Messages

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The current study employed a confirmation perspective to assess individuals' perceptions of weight management messages. Confirmation was conceptualized as being comprised of two components: acceptance and challenge. Building on the main theoretical premise that messages higher in acceptance and challenge would be perceived as more effective in promoting healthy behaviors than messages lower in these components, we assessed how the relationships between the two components and message effectiveness varied by individuals' characteristics. Specifically, we examined body self-esteem, readiness to change, weight locus of control, motivations for weight management, and communication satisfaction with weight management conversations as potential moderators. Results indicated that, as hypothesized, messages higher in acceptance and messages higher in challenge were perceived as more effective. In addition, body self-esteem, certain stages of readiness to change, and communication satisfaction interacted with acceptance to predict effectiveness, and internal locus of control and appearance and strength motives interacted with challenge to predict effectiveness. These results, in combination, suggest that although messages high in either component of confirmation were perceived as generally effective in motivating healthy behaviors, optimal levels of acceptance and challenge may vary by certain individual and relational characteristics. Practical and theoretical implications are discussed.
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Keywords: Acceptance; Challenge; Confirmation; Message Effectiveness; Weight Management

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-06-01

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