Minimizing Lapses for Weight Control: The Effects of Cue Exposure and Response Prevention Combined with Distress Tolerance

Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

R. Wayne Fuqua, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Heather McGee, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Jonathan Baker, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Raymond Miltenberger, Ph.D.


Cue exposure and response prevention, distress tolerance, eating behavior, exposure and response prevention


The current study sought to replicate and extend research into cue exposure and response prevention. Extensions included the addition of a distress tolerance psychoeducation component, delivery of the intervention using videoconferencing technology, and having male and female participants. Daily self-report data was collected using a signal contingent ecological momentary assessment procedure, wherein participants responded to scheduled text messages that went out four times a day. During each exposure session participants responded to questions related to how strong their desire to eat the food was, to their conditioned stimulus-unconditioned stimulus expectancies (CS-US expectancies), and how able they were to tolerate their distress. Three different questionnaires (FAAQ, PFS, DEBQ) were used as both a screening tool for eligibility, as well as a way to measure pre-test and post-test scores to evaluate if any changes had occurred. Results demonstrated that most of the participants were able to reduce their daily lapses on their targeted food items, were able to minimize both their desire to eat and CS-US expectancies, and were able to increase their distress tolerance during the exposure sessions. Lastly, most of the participants had a change in their questionnaire scores in the desired directions. Anecdotal results suggest maintenance and generalization of skills occurred for a small number of the participants.

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