Abstract for: Effect of Specific Group Model Building Activities on Stakeholders

The problems we are concerned with are the persistently high levels of childhood obesity; obesity disparities across race, ethnicity, and gender; and diseases that are associated with obesity such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. To address these problems, our Catalyzing Communities research project convenes community stakeholders and guides them through an intervention that begins with group model building (GMB). This study focuses on the following research question: what is the effect of specific GMB activities on participants? We measured participants’ knowledge of childhood obesity, decision agreement and action commitment, relationship formation, engagement, and trust through post meeting surveys. We have completed GMB activities with stakeholder groups in four communities around the US (East Boston, MA, Greenville, SC, Tucson, AZ, and Milwaukee, WI). A total of 57 stakeholders participated and a total of 190 surveys were collected. Preliminary results indicate that relationships, engagement, and trust started and remained high throughout the GMB sessions. Knowledge increased over the course of the sessions. Agreement and commitment started at the lowest level compared to other constructs and increased when the groups worked to refine their causal loop diagrams and when they engaged in activities focused on action prioritization and planning.