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Appearance vs. health : subtitle does the reason for dieting affect dieting behaviour? Putterman, Erin


Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate whether dieting out of concern for one's health, as opposed to for appearance reasons, is associated with the same negative consequences normally associated with chronic dieting. Method: 110 student and 96 community women dieters completed self-report measures of various eating behaviours, psychological variables, and motivations behind their dieting. Results: The findings indicated that individuals who were motivated to change their appearance through dieting were younger than those dieting to improve their health. They were also more likely to use drastic dieting strategies, and to score higher on measures of disinhibited eating, or lapses in restraint. On the other hand, it was found that dieting driven by health concerns was associated with fewer negative sequelae. Discussion: These results suggest that not all dietary behaviour labelled as 'dieting' is equally harmful, and that the driving force behind the dieting is a more important factor to consider than dietary restriction per se.

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