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Psychol Bull. 1993 Jul;114(1):100-21.

The effects of dieting on eating behavior: a three-factor model.

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Division of Clinical Psychology, Hahnemann University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102-1192.


I review and critique restraint theory and develop a 3-factor model of dieting behavior. The factors--frequency of dieting and overeating, current dieting, and weight suppression--are embedded within a 3-dimensional grid that also considers mechanisms mediating the effects of dieting and the influence of weight status. I argue that the eating behavior exhibited by restrained eaters stems from their frequent dieting and overeating in the past rather than from their current state of dietary or cognitive restraint. Evidence is reviewed, indicating that current dieting and weight suppression have different effects on eating than does restraint. The 3-factor model is used to reinterpret findings consistent with restraint theory and to explain findings inconsistent with restraint theory. Finally, clinical and research implications of the 3-factor model are discussed.

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