Motivation for dietary restraint, and disordered eating among adults experiencing food insecurity in the United States

Francesca Gomez, Marisol Perez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Does engaging in dietary restraint due to weight/shape concerns versus economic hardship differentially relate to disordered eating?. Method: The sample consisted of 582 adults experiencing food insecurity (FI) who completed online measures assessing severity of FI, disordered eating, loss of control over eating, and dietary restraint. Participants reported their motivation for dietary restraint with options consisting of weight/shape concerns, economic hardship (i.e., insufficient funds and prioritizing others' needs), mixed reasons, and other/I do not know. Results: In the sample, 18% reported engaging in dietary restraint primarily due to weight/shape concerns, 33% due to economic hardship, 18% other/do not know, and 30% due to a mix of reasons. There were positive correlations between FI, economic hardship, dietary restraint, disordered eating, and loss of control over eating. Regression analyses revealed the association between dietary restraint and disordered eating does not differ across individuals who endorse economic hardship as a motivator for dietary restraint. Findings replicated with loss of control. However, the association between dietary restraint and disordered eating grew stronger as more dietary restraint due to weight/shape concerns was endorsed. No significant association emerged with loss of control. Discussion: Research is needed to replicate findings and examine how patterns of food scarcity impacts disordered eating in food insecure populations with and without weight/shape concerns. Findings suggest that motivation for dietary restraint may influence associations with dietary restraint and the cognitive components of disordered eating, but not the behavioral components of disordered eating. Public Significance Statement: Disordered eating due to dietary restraint is most commonly associated with weight and shape concerns; however, even when dietary restraint is due to economic reasons, it can still be associated with disordered eating.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)838-844
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume55
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Keywords

  • adults
  • dietary restraint
  • disordered eating
  • EDEQ
  • food insecurity
  • LOCES
  • loss of control
  • shape concerns
  • weight concerns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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