Date of Award

Summer 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Committee Director

Desideria S. Hacker

Committee Member

Darlene Colson

Committee Member

Barbara A. Cubic

Committee Member

Robin J. Lewis

Committee Member

Alan T. Pope


African-American women have been disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic in the United States, and studies have suggested that sociocultural factors may have a negative influence on weight and weight loss efforts. Relatedly, other studies have found that African-American women have reported feeling less motivated to lose weight than other ethnic groups. Previous research has also indicated that locus of control plays a role in some health outcomes for African America women. The current study aimed to examine the impact of Black identity, external locus of control, and exercise motivation on obesity in African-American college women. Uncontrolled eating and exercise activity were proposed as mediators, and depression and age were included as covariates.

Results indicated that racial identity, external locus of control, and exercise motivation did not predict obesity in this population. Depression and age were, however, significantly associated with obesity. Future studies should explore other aspects of culture for African-American women that may influence obesity and motivation to engage in healthier behaviors. Additionally, an examination of factors that contribute to depression and weight for this population would also prove beneficial for more culturally sensitive obesity interventions.


A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculties of The College of William and Mary, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology through the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).