Attachment style contributes to the outcome of a multimodal lifestyle intervention
1 Department of Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Hindenburgdamm 30, 12200 Berlin, Germany
2 Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Hindenburgdamm 30, 12200 Berlin, Germany
3 Department of Epidemiology and Statistics, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Hindenburgdamm 30, 12200 Berlin, Germany
BioPsychoSocial Medicine 2012, 6:3 doi:10.1186/1751-0759-6-3Published: 2 February 2012
Background & Aims
The long-term success of life-style interventions in the treatment of obesity is limited. Although psychological factors have been suggested to modify therapeutic effects, specifically the implications of attachment styles and the patient-therapist relationship have not been examined in detail yet.
This study included 44 obese patients who participated in a one-year multimodal weight-reduction program. Attachment style was analyzed by the Adult Attachment Prototype Rating (AAPR) inventory and its relation to a one-year weight reduction program was studied. The patient-therapist-relationship was assessed using the Helping Alliance Questionnaire.
Attachment style was secure in 68% of participants and insecure (preoccupied and dismissing) in 32%. Interestingly a significantly higher weight-reduction was found in securely (SAI) compared to insecurely attached individuals (UAI; p < 0.05). This estimation correlated positively also to the quality of helping alliance (p = 0.004).
The frequency of insecure attachment in obese individuals was comparable to that of the normal population. Our data suggest a greater weight-reduction for SAI than for UAI, and the patient-therapist relationship was rated more positively. The conclusion can be drawn that a patient's attachment style plays a role in an interdisciplinary treatment program for obesity and has an influence on the effort to lose weight.