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Keywords:

  • naturalistic evaluation;
  • dietary restraint;
  • binge eating;
  • eating disorders

Abstract

Objective

The current study attempted to characterize the natural course of events linking dietary restraint to urges to binge and actual binge episodes.

Method

Using preprogrammed, hand-held computers, 39 women with bulimia-spectrum eating disorders monitored ongoing eating episodes, dietary restraint, and binge cravings over a 7–29-day interval.

Results

Multilevel modeling analyses indicated that restraint was not systematically elevated before binging. However, elevated restraint preceded strong binge cravings.

Conclusion

Results suggest that dietary restraint may contribute to binge cravings, but may not be a direct antecedent to binge episodes. Such findings are consistent with restraint theory, which suggests that dietary restraint potentiates binging, but does not necessarily trigger its occurrence. © 2005 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.