Dieting and Cognitive Style: The Role of Current and Past Dieting Behaviour and Cognitions

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    This study aimed to investigate the relationship between dieting and global cognitive style in a non-clinical sample. Questionnaires were administered to 218 Australian undergraduate students. Dieting was operationalized in two ways: self-reported current dieting behaviour; and scores on dietary restraint. It was found that current, but not past, dieters had more dysfunctional cognitive attitudes, confirming the necessity of distinguishing between current and past dieting behaviour. The Concern for Dieting subscale of dietary restraint was also related to a dysfunctional cognitive style, even after level of depressed mood was statistically controlled. In particular, the dysfunctional attitude of Dichotomous Thinking was implicated. Taken together, the findings imply that dieters do not have an enduring maladaptive cognitive style, but rather that current dieting concerns and behaviour are associated with poorer cognitive functioning.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)17-24
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Health Psychology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000


    • Cognitive style
    • Dietary restraint
    • Dieting
    • Maladaptive cognitions


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