Building Motivation in African American Caregivers of Adolescents With Obesity: Application of Sequential Analysis

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We sought to examine communication between counselors and caregivers of adolescents with obesity to determine what types of counselor behaviors increased caregivers' motivational statements regarding supporting their child's weight loss.


We coded 20-min Motivational Interviewing sessions with 37 caregivers of African American 12-16-year-olds using the Minority Youth Sequential Coding for Observing Process Exchanges. We used sequential analysis to determine which counselor communication codes predicted caregiver motivational statements.


Counselors' questions to elicit motivational statements and emphasis on autonomy increased the likelihood of both caregiver change talk and commitment language statements. Counselors' reflections of change talk predicted further change talk, and reflections of commitment language predicted more commitment language.


When working to increase motivation among caregivers of adolescents with overweight or obesity, providers should strive to reflect motivational statements, ask questions to elicit motivational statements, and emphasize caregivers' autonomy.

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