Understanding and Describing the Impact of Self-Concept on Weight Loss as Perceived by African American Women

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Missamou, Tchicaya
Weight loss; African American; Self Concept; Self esteem; Diet; obesity in African Americans; Education; Educational Leadership; Educational Psychology; Health and Physical Education; Social and Behavioral Sciences
thesis / dissertation description
Purpose. The purpose of this mixed-method study was to understand and describe the impact of Bracken’s (1992) six domains of self-concept (affect, academic, competence, family, physical, and social) on weight loss as perceived by African American women.Methods. This study employed a sequential mixed-methods exploratory design. A web-based survey was administered with 66 respondents, followed by in-person interviews with 10 participants. Data were collected from African American women who participated in a fitness and weight loss challenge and lived in the greater Los Angeles Area.Findings. The extent to which each domain affected participants’ ability to lose weight was mixed. The competence domain was rated slightly higher than the other domains in terms of affecting participants inability to lose weight. Also, there was general consensus the academic domain had little impact on weight and weight loss compared to the other domains.Conclusions. Based on the findings from this study and the literature review, it was concluded that weight and weight loss were not connected to the academic or social domains of self-concept for African American women. It was also concluded that the family and competence domains affected weight and weight loss to varying degrees and in different ways. Additionally, it was concluded that weight and weight loss was connected to the emotional domain of self-concept with direct link to genetic predisposition passed on from generation to generation dating as far back as slavery era.Recommendations. Based on the findings from this study and the literature review, it was recommended additional efforts be made to education and target the African American community to support a healthy lifestyle. It was also recommended that government agencies and industries redefine their standards to support a healthy weight for African American women.