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Eat Behav. 2004 Jul;5(3):199-208.

What a difference a diet makes: towards an understanding of differences between restrained dieters and restrained nondieters.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Drexel University, Mail Stop 626, 245 N. 15th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102, USA.


Restrained eaters who are and are not dieting to lose weight have shown opposite eating regulation patterns in past research. To better understand these differences, restraint theory and the Three-Factor Model of Dieting was used to generate differential predictions about the mean and variability of restrained dieters (RDs) and restrained nondieters (RNDs) on the eating inventory Cognitive Restraint (CR) scale and the Restraint Scale (RS). Unrestrained nondieters served as a reference group. Eighty normal-weight female college students completed the CR, RS, and a measure of weight cycling. RDs, relative to RNDs, obtained higher and more homogeneous scores on the Cognitive Restraint, and higher and more heterogeneous scores on the RS. A post hoc analysis found that RDs had a much greater weight cycling history than RNDs. These findings are most consistent with the Three-Factor Model of Dieting, but also point to needed revisions both in this model and in traditional restraint theory.

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