Date of Award

May 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Diane M. Reddy

Committee Members

Raymond Fleming, Marcellus Merritt, Katie Mosack, Susan Lima


Blue-Collar Employees, Health Behavior Change Intervention, Saturated Fat Intake, Self-Regulation


Blue-collar employees, compared to white-collar workers, are more vulnerable to developing chronic illness and are less likely to make healthy food choices. Saturated fat intake, an indicator of an unhealthy diet, is a major contributor to disease morbidity, mortality, and health care costs. Interventions directed at increasing self-regulatory skills for health behaviors could possibly serve to bolster one's sense of personal control in psychological and socio-economic realms. The current study was a 2 x 3 between-subjects repeated-measures randomized experimental design that examined the efficacy of a Self-regulation skill + Education intervention against an Education Only condition over a 6-week period, with assessments at baseline, week 4 (end of intervention), and week 6 (post-intervention). Outcome variables included saturated fat intake, self-efficacy for reducing saturated fat intake, and self-regulation for controlled eating. Blue-collar employees (N=54) at UWM were randomized to either condition. Participants in both groups had an equal number of individual in-person meetings. Both groups received the saturated fats information booklet, which discussed what saturated fat is, identified items high in saturated fats, and provided information on how to reduce this element in one's diet. Self-regulation skill + Education participants also took part in a 4-week self-regulation skills training that involved selecting saturated fat reduction goals, self-monitoring, identifying barriers and strategies, self-administering rewards, evaluating progress and revising goals. Study procedures followed a carefully designed manual to ensure standardized intervention delivery; all participants were to receive equivalent educational informational with the intervention group receiving additional self-regulatory skills training. Mixed ANOVA analyses showed that significant differences emerged between groups. Specifically, the Self-regulation skill + Education group reported significantly lower saturated fat intake and greater self-regulation at the end of the intervention and post-intervention. The intervention group also reported significantly higher self-efficacy for saturated fat intake post-intervention. The present study has extended self-regulation research to saturated fat intake behavior within a low socio-economic status work group. The features of the Self-Regulation + Education intervention point to simple yet meaningful efforts for health behavior change and hold empirical and practical value. Research findings highlight that self-regulation training is an essential component of effective health behavior change and should be an integral component of multi-level illness prevention and health promotion efforts.