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November 1981

Couples Training, Pharmacotherapy, and Behavior Therapy in the Treatment of Obesity

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1981;38(11):1224-1229. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1981.01780360040003

• The effects of behavior therapy with and without either pharmacotherapy or couples training were studied in 124 obese adults. In a 16-week behavioral weight-reduction program, patients were assigned to medication (fenfluramine hydrochloride) and no-medication conditions and to three spouse conditions in a 2 × 3 design. Two conditions consisted of patients with "cooperative" spouses; in one, patients were treated with their spouses, and in the other they were treated alone. In the third, patients with "uncooperative" spouses were treated alone. Fenfluramine produced significantly greater weight losses than no medication, but patients in the medication group regained weight much more rapidly during a 12-month maintenance period. The spouse conditions did not differ in weight change during treatment or follow-up. Obese spouses lost as much weight as the patients and were slightly more successful than the patients at maintaining their losses. Patients with obese spouses lost more weight than patients with nonobese spouses. Depression decreased in proportion to decreases in weight.