When does behavior follow intent? Relationships between trait level dietary restraint and daily eating behaviors
Abstract Background The relationship between self-report trait level restriction and daily engagement in restriction behaviors is not well understood, and as a result the usefulness of such trait level measures is unclear. The present study aimed both to examine the validity of self-reported trait dietary restraint behaviors, and to examine the respective relationships among self-reported trait dietary restraint intentions and behaviors and both restrained and disinhibited eating at the daily level. Methods A sample of 109 women ( M age = 2 24.72, SD = 4.15) completed a self-report trait level measure of dietary restraint before providing EMA data on their daily engagement in dietary restraint and disinhibited eating behaviors, as well as mood, over a period of 7 days. Multilevel hurdle models were used to test the relationship between trait levels of dietary restraint, and daily level reports of restraint and disinhibited eating behaviors. Results Trait restraint behavior was a consistent predictor of daily presence and frequency of restraint behaviors. In contrast, trait restraint intentions was not a predictor of daily restraint behaviors, however it did predict daily frequency of overeating. In addition, daily negative affect emerged as a predictor of comfort eating, but was not predictive of restraint behaviors. Conclusions Findings confirm the usefulness of assessments of self-reported trait dietary restraint behaviors as a method of capturing dieting behaviors. In contrast, trait level dietary restraint intentions was a poor predictor of eating outcomes and more research on the way that restraint intentions affect eating behaviors is warranted.
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