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Weight beliefs among African American Women

Our featured article for the next couple of weeks is titled “Development and Validation of the Beliefs About Personal Weight Survey Among African American Women” by Stephanie Pickett, PhD, RN; Rosalind M. Peters, PhD, RN, FAAN and Thomas Templin, PhD. This article reports the development of an empirical measure that integrates culturally related beliefs. The article is available for download at no cost while it is featured.  Here is a message that Dr. Pickett shared about her work:

My program of research focuses on reduction of hypertension-related risk factors among African Americans, with a specific interest in psychosocial factors that influence weight management among African American women such as weight beliefs, perceived stress,

emotions and eating behavior patterns. My initial research examined beliefs about hypertension and self-care behaviors among African

Stephanie Pickett

Americans and found that a significant relationship existed between hypertension beliefs and behaviors that affect blood pressure control. I then became interested in examining weight beliefs and weight management behaviors given that obesity is a risk factor for hypertension. I focused on African American women due to the high proportion of overweight and obese women in this group.

As I examined the weight belief literature, I discovered that most of the research about weight beliefs among African American women were qualitative studies that methodologically could not examine relationships between beliefs and behaviors. I also discovered that there were numerous instruments that measured weight beliefs that mainly focused on beliefs about obesity. These instruments gathered important information, but none measured beliefs about personal weight across the weight spectrum and none were developed and normed with African American women. My dissertation work filled this gap in the literature with the development and initial testing of the Beliefs about Personal Weight Survey (BPWS) with young African American women. This survey shows promising results with adequate reliability and validity.

My next step is to revise the BPWS to make it a useful tool for clinicians and researchers   to examine weight beliefs as a component of weight management interventions among African American women.

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