Motivators, Goal Setting, and Helpful Feedback for Weight Management Among Individuals With Spinal Cord Injury

Sherri L. LaVela*, Kayla Jones, Allen W. Heinemann, Brian Bartle, Linda S. Ehrlich-Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: To gain a fuller understanding, in the context of biopsychoecological factors, of drivers/motivators, goal setting, and feedback, individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) find helpful to gauge their weight management progress. Research Method/Design: We conducted in-depth interviews around weight management in SCI. Participants included veterans and civilians with SCI. Thematic analysis methodology was used to categorize data into relevant recurrent and/or conceptually significant themes. Results: Twenty-five individuals identified three primary reasons they wanted to participate in weight management, including overall health and wellness, appearance, and functional mobility. Their self-identified weight management goals included reaching/ maintaining a specific body weight and/or trimming a focused body part; engaging in any or more physical activity/ exercise; gaining strength and endurance; participating in life and activities; and alleviating weight-related health symptoms (e.g., pain). Individuals identified progress assessments, recognition, regular check-ins, and encouragement as helpful feedback toward weight management achievement. Conclusions/Implications: Our work identified what drives weight management in individuals with SCI, what is important to them in terms of goal setting, and what feedback they would find helpful. These findings may be used in intervention planning and program development to facilitate participation and behavior modification. Weight management efforts and interventions are needed that 1) incorporate motivators for weight management that are important to individuals with SCI; 2) help them identify actionable process and performance goals to facilitate achievement of self-identified meaningful outcome goals; and 3) provide person-centered weight management progress feedback such as those identified in this study (progress assessments, recognition, regular check-ins, and encouragement).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-264
Number of pages8
JournalRehabilitation Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


  • Feedback
  • Goal setting
  • Motivation
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Weight management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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