Dietary restraint, body dissatisfaction, and psychological distress: A prospective analysis

  • Johnson F
  • Wardle J
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Abstract

This study uses prospective data from a survey of 1,177 adolescent girls to examine whether emotional eating, binge eating, abnormal attitudes to eating and weight, low self-esteem, stress, and depression are associated with dietary restraint or body dissatisfaction. In analyses that included both restraint and body dissatisfaction as independent predictors, restraint was associated only with more negative attitudes to eating, whereas body dissatisfaction was significantly associated with all the adverse outcomes. These results cast doubt on the proposition that restrained eating is a primary cause of bulimic symptoms, emotional eating, and psychological distress seen in individuals who are trying to control their weight, and rather suggest that body dissatisfaction is the key factor

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Authors

  • Fiona Johnson

  • Jane Wardle

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