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Restrained eating and sociocultural attitudes to appearance and general dissatisfaction

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Objective: This study investigated the influence of sociocultural factors in a non-dieting disordered population. Relationships between restrained eating and the awareness and internalization of sociocultural attitudes towards appearance; and between restrained eating and the personality traits, perfectionism and general dissatisfaction, were examined.

Method: Eighty-two female Australian-born university students completed four questionnaires: the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT), Revised Restraint Scale (RRS), Sociocultural Attitudes Towards Appearance Scale (SATAQ), Setting Conditions for Anorexia Nervosa Scale (SCANS).

Results: Significant positive relationships were found between restrained eating and (a) abnormal eating attitudes, (b) awareness and internalization of sociocultural attitudes towards appearance, and (c) general dissatisfaction with oneself and life. There was no significant relationship between restrained eating and perfectionism. Post hoc analyses revealed a significant relationship between general dissatisfaction and the awareness and internalization of sociocultural pressures.

Discussion: The study highlighted differences in psychopathology between dieting disordered and non-dieting disordered populations, and suggested that females who practice dietary restraint were aware of and internalize concepts about thinness and beauty. Furthermore, the findings suggested that it is not just exposure to these ideals but the acceptance of them that leads to restrained eating. Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Clinical Psychologist, Private Practitioner, Sydney, Australia 2: Department of Psychology, University of Sydney, Australia

Publication date: 2000-10-01

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