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Prof. Dr. Petra Warschburger

Universität Potsdam

Abt. Beratungspsychologie

Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24-25

14476 Potsdam-Golm  

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YOUTH – Development and evaluation of a development-appropriate training program for obese adolescents and young adults

Prof. Dr. Petra Warschburger, und Dipl.-Psych Sophia Neugebauer, Universität Potsdam


Cooperation partners:
Dr. med. G. Claußnitzer, Spessart Klinik, Bad Orb,

Dr. med. E. Waldeck, Edelsteinklinik, Bruchweiler &

Dr. med. J. Oepen, Viktoriastift, Bad Kreuznach



Obesity in adolescence and young adulthood constitutes a serious and widespread problem (approx. 8.5% of 14-17-year-olds are obese), with many consequences for those affected and considerable consequences for society as a whole. In research and applied therapy, however, a neglect of the specific developmental situation and an undersupply are apparent for precisely this age group.


Objective and research question:

The aim is to develop and evaluate an indication- and development-specific training program for the therapy of obesity in adolescents and young adults (16-21 years). The program should bring about a reduction in weight status as well as an increase in the quality of life and counteract the consequences in a preventative manner. A consideration of age-appropriate and gender-specific themes, risks and resources as well as the situation of socially disadvantaged young people characterise the intervention program. The didactic procedure will equally be adapted to the age group through the use, for example, of visual media (DVD-Video) with "peers as models". The main question of interest is: Can an age-specific intervention (YOUTH), compared to the usual, age-unspecific intervention ("treatment as usual"), bring about an improvement of treatment effectiveness (BMI_SDS; quality of life)?


Design and methodological procedure:

The concern is with a multi-centre, prospective controlled study including quantitative cross-sectional and longitudinal surveys. The study is divided into three large work steps: a needs analysis, the program development and an evaluation study. The needs analysis comprises qualitative focus interviews (N=20) and a questionnaire survey (N=200). Building on their results, the contents and the procedure of the training measure YOUTH will be developed. In cooperation with three rehabilitation clinics, the new training program will be implemented and tested in terms of its effectiveness in a sample of 125 obese 16-21-year-olds. For purposes of comparison, a control group (N=125) will be surveyed, which takes part in the usual rehabilitation program. The evaluation study comprises four measurement time points (at the beginning and end of rehab; 6- and 12-month follow-up). In a subgroup (N=50), data on exercise and nutrition behaviour will be measured, using questionnaires and through pedometers and electronic diaries ("ecological momentary assessment", EMA).

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