Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Purpose: To assess the impact of Co-active life coaching on obese female university students’ body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), functional health status, and self-esteem, and conjointly to identify the coaching skills and primary agenda topics that facilitate life coaching’s efficacy as an intervention for obesity. Methods: A multiple-baseline single-subject research design was utilized with five full- time female undergraduate students with BMI £ 30kg/m . Two Certified Professional Coactive Coaches (CPCCs) provided an average of nine, 35-minute, one-on-one sessions with participants. Measures included BMI, WC, the previously validated Short-Form 36 (SF-36) Health Survey, and Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Visual inspection was used to analyze changes in BMI and WC. Effect sizes were calculated for the SF-36 and Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and were interpreted using Cohen’s (1988) rule. Statistical interpretations were supplemented with qualitative information from post-intervention interviews to determine whether a clinically significant difference was achieved. Inductive content analysis was conducted on the pre- and post-intervention interview transcripts and on 50% of each participant’s coaching session transcripts. Results'. Visual inspection revealed no change in BMI for three, a decrease for one, and a slight increase for one participant. WC decreased for three participants and remained stable for two. A moderate to large increase in self-esteem (Cohen’s d= 0. 79) was found. Qualitatively, two participants spoke specifically of having improved self-esteem at the end of the intervention. A substantial increase in overall health status (Cohen’s d = 0. 90; mental health dimension d= 0.74; physical health dimension d = 0.88) was found. Qualitatively, one participant spoke specifically of having an enhanced overall health in status at the end of the intervention. During their post-intervention interviews, all five participants spoke of experiencing improved self-acceptance. Collectively, the effect sizes and qualitative statements indicate clinically significant changes (i.e., improvements) in participants’ self-esteem, and their physical, mental, and total (overall) health statuses upon completion of the intervention. All participants’ primary agenda topics related to achieving enhanced self-acceptance and an improved relationship with themselves. For all participants, powerful questions was the skill used most frequently by the coaches, and among those participants for whom a reduction in BMI and/or WC was achieved, acknowledgement was the skill used most often. Conclusions'. Coaching was associated with a trend towards a decrease in WC, and with clinically significant increases in participants’ self-esteem, and in their mental, physical, and overall health statuses. The predominant coaching skills and primary agenda topics revealed in this study will allow for a future in-depth comparison of similar help by talking techniques.



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