The present study sought to investigate genetic/biological attributions of obesity, their associations with a predisposition to obesity and their crossectional and longitudinal implications for weight regulation in obese individuals presenting for genetic testing and counselling. A
total of 421 obese men and women underwent psychological and anthropometric assessment and a mutation screen of the melanocortin-4 receptor gene. At study entry, women revealed more genetic/biological attributions than men on the Revised Illness Perception Questionnaire adapted to obesity
(86.2% versus 59.7%). Genetic/biological attributions of obesity were associated in both sexes with a family history of obesity, assessed through Stunkard's Figure Rating Scale. In both sexes, genetic/biological attributions were unrelated to weight regulation beliefs and behaviour (i.e. self-efficacy,
controllability beliefs, restrained eating and physical activity), assessed through standardised questionnaires or interview at baseline and at six-month follow-up. In addition, causal attributions and weight regulation beliefs and behaviour were not predictive of body mass index at six-month
follow-up. Overall, the results indicate that causal attributions of obesity to genetic/biological factors in obese individuals presenting for genetic screening and counselling are crossectionally and longitudinally unrelated to weight regulation and longer-term weight outcome. Those who attribute
their obesity to genetic/biological factors likely have a familial obesity risk.
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familial obesity risk;
weight regulation behaviour
Document Type: Research Article
Department of Psychology, Division of Clinical Psychology and Psychological Therapy, Philipps University of Marburg, Marburg, Germany
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Rheinische Kliniken Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany
Publication date: September 1, 2009