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Med Wieku Rozwoj. 2011 Jul-Sep;15(3):240-9.

Psychological determinants of selected eating behaviours in adolescents.

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Institute Mother and Child, Warszawa.



In population studies, we can follow the occurrence of initial symptoms of abnormal eating behaviours which may, but do not have to, lead to clinical manifestation of serious associated health problems, such as overweight or obesity, anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. THE MAIN AIM: of this study was to determine to what extent psychosocial factors are associated with selected eating behaviours, such as: dietary restrictions, uncontrolled eating and emotional eating.


Data from the postal survey conducted in 2008 on the sample of 605 children born in Poland in January 1995 served as a basis of this study. A short, 13-item Polish version of TFEQ (Three Factor-Eating Questionnaire) instrument was applied, representing three factors: Cognitive Restraint (CR), Uncontrolled Eating (UE) and Emotional Eating (EE). Multivariate linear regression models were estimated with eleven psychosocial factors, gender and body mass index BMI (1 - excess; 0 - lack of excess weight) as potential independent variables.


The following variables appeared to be independent predictors of eating behaviours: 1) for CR: three risk factors - high BMI, gender (female) and low self-esteem; 2) for UE: two risk factors - high stress and low emotional support and one protective factor - positive attitude towards school; 3) for EE: two risk factors - high stress, low coping and two protective factors - high social acceptance and instrumental support. Psychosocial factors showed the strongest association with emotional eating (for final four predictors R2=0,078), and the weakest with dietary restrictions (for the only psychosocial predictor ÄR2=0,014).


1) Negative behaviours, such as: dietary restrictions, uncontrolled eating and emotional eating may have strong association with psychosocial factors in adolescence. 2) In this period of life, the strongest association of psychosocial factors with emotional eating, and the weakest with dietary restrictions was found. 3)The knowledge of disordered eating predictors may become the basis for providing more effective intervention programmes which should aim to make young people aware of the mechanisms leading to this kind of disorders and potential consequences for health at present and in the future.

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