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Eat Weight Disord. 2016 Mar;21(1):49-56. doi: 10.1007/s40519-015-0188-x. Epub 2015 Mar 10.

Explaining rigid dieting in normal-weight women: the key role of body image inflexibility.

Author information

1
Faculdade de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação, CINEICC-Cognitive-Behavioral Research Center, Universidade de Coimbra, Rua do Colégio Novo, Apartado 6153, 3001-802, Coimbra, Portugal.
2
Faculdade de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação, CINEICC-Cognitive-Behavioral Research Center, Universidade de Coimbra, Rua do Colégio Novo, Apartado 6153, 3001-802, Coimbra, Portugal. ines.almeidatrindade@gmail.com.

Abstract

Restrictive dieting is an increasing behavior presented by women in modern societies, independently of their weight. There are several known factors that motivate diet, namely a sense of dissatisfaction with one's body and unfavorable social comparisons based on physical appearance. However, dieting seems to have a paradoxical effect and has been considered a risk factor for weight gain and obesity in women and for maladaptive eating. Nevertheless, the study of the emotional regulation processes that explain the adoption of inflexible and rigid eating behaviors still remains little explored. In this line, the present study aims to explore why normal-weight women engage in highly rigid and inflexible diets. We hypothesize that body and weight dissatisfaction and unfavorable social comparisons based on physical appearance explain the adoption of inflexible eating rules, through the mechanisms of body image inflexibility. The current study comprised 508 normal-weight female college students. Path analyses were conducted to explore the study's hypotheses. Results revealed that the model explained 43 % of inflexible eating and revealed excellent fit indices. Furthermore, the unwillingness to experience unwanted events related to body image (body image inflexibility) mediated the impact of body dissatisfaction and unfavorable social comparisons on the adoption of inflexible eating rules. This study highlights the relevance of body image inflexibility to explain rigid eating attitudes, and it seems to be an important avenue for the development of interventions focusing on the promotion of adaptive attitudes towards body image and eating in young women.

KEYWORDS:

Body dissatisfaction; Body image inflexibility; Inflexible eating; Social comparisons based on physical appearance; Weight dissatisfaction

PMID:
25753131
DOI:
10.1007/s40519-015-0188-x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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