Cognitions of restrained and unrestrained eaters under fasting and nonfasting conditions (1996)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameMaster of Arts
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
It has recently been suggested that the cognitions of unrestrained eaters and those of individuals with eating disorders are at opposing ends of a continuum, with restrained eaters occupying an intermediate position. The present study explored the everyday cognitions of 10 restrained and 10 unrestrained eaters under fasting and nonfasting conditions using a random thought-sampling technique. Grounded analysis of the thought transcripts yielded a number of categories related to food, self, and others. The results revealed no differences between restrained and unrestrained eaters in terms of their relative percentages of thoughts about food and self. Differences were evident, however, in the nature of their cognitions. Unrestrained eaters were more critical of their own personality and behaviour under the fasting condition than under the nonfasting condition, whereas the restrained eaters' evaluations of themselves did not differ across conditions. Under the nonfasting condition, however, restrained eaters exhibited a more negative self-concept than the unrestrained eaters. Both groups had a significantly higher percentage of thoughts about food under the fasting condition and restrained eaters made higher evaluations of food overall compared to the unrestrained eaters. The results of the present study are consistent with other studies that have used thought-sampling and think-aloud techniques, however they contrast with studies that have employed self-report questionnaires. Hence, the emphasis on self-report questionnaires in both clinical and research contexts may fail to capture important cognitive data. Further, the results from this study suggest that the continuum hypothesis may hold only when it is the nature of cognitions, not their frequency, that is considered.
KeywordsDieters--Psychology; Cognitive psychology; Eating disorders--Psychological aspects; Food habits--Psychological aspects
RightsAll Rights Reserved
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