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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 641939, 7 pages
Research Article

Achieving Cultural Congruency in Weight Loss Interventions: Can a Spirituality-Based Program Attract and Retain an Inner-City Community Sample?

Department of Psychology, Fordham University, 441 E. Fordham Road, Bronx, NY 10458, USA

Received 7 January 2014; Revised 5 March 2014; Accepted 14 March 2014; Published 7 April 2014

Academic Editor: Robyn Sysko

Copyright © 2014 Chad Davis 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.


Ethnic minorities continue to be disproportionately affected by obesity and are less likely to access healthcare than Caucasians. It is therefore imperative that researchers develop novel methods that will attract these difficult-to-reach groups. The purpose of the present study is to describe characteristics of an urban community sample attracted to a spiritually based, weight loss intervention. Methods. Thirteen participants enrolled in a pilot version of Spiritual Self-Schema Therapy (3S) applied to disordered eating behavior and obesity. Treatment consisted of 12 one-hour sessions in a group therapy format. At baseline, participants were measured for height and weight and completed a battery of self-report measures. Results. The sample was predominantly African-American and Hispanic and a large percentage of the sample was male. Mean baseline scores of the EDE-Q, YFAS, and the CES-D revealed clinically meaningful levels of eating disordered pathology and depression, respectively. The overall attrition rate was quite low for interventions targeting obesity. Discussion. This application of a spiritually centered intervention seemed to attract and retain a predominantly African-American and Hispanic sample. By incorporating a culturally congruent focus, this approach may have been acceptable to individuals who are traditionally more difficult to reach.