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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2012, Article ID 290589, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/290589
Research Article

Motivation for Participating in a Weight Loss Program and Financial Incentives: An Analysis from a Randomized Trial

1Department of Health Behavior, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1700 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Campus Box 7294, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, USA
2Departments of Health Behavior and Nutrition, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1700 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Campus Box 7294, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, USA
3Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore, Singapore 169857

Received 9 November 2011; Revised 20 January 2012; Accepted 12 February 2012

Academic Editor: Geoffrey C. Williams

Copyright © 2012 Melissa M. Crane et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

This analysis investigated if changes in autonomous or controlled motivation for participation in a weight loss program differed between individuals offered a financial incentive for weight loss compared to individuals not offered an incentive. Additionally, the same relationships were tested among those who lost weight and either received or did not receive an incentive. This analysis used data from a year-long randomized worksite weight loss program that randomly assigned employees in each worksite to either a low-intensity weight loss program or the same program plus small financial incentives for weight loss ($5.00 per percentage of initial weight lost). There were no differences in changes between groups on motivation during the study, however, increases in autonomous motivation were consistently associated with greater weight losses. This suggests that the small incentives used in this program did not lead to increases in controlled motivation nor did they undermine autonomous motivation. Future studies are needed to evaluate the magnitude and timing of incentives to more fully understand the relationship between incentives and motivation.