Loneliness, dysphoria, dietary restraint, and eating behavior
The study was designed to examine Herman and Polivy's restrained eating theory (Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 84, 666–672, 1975) using two different methods: situational-experimental and dispositional-correlational. Fifty-eight female college students were administered the revised UCLA Loneliness Scale, the Beck Depression Inventory (Short Form), and the Restraint scale. Subsequently, the students were subjected to either a neutral, sad, or loneliness mood induction and then ate cookies under the pretext of participating in a taste test. Consistent with expectation, dieters tended to consume more food in the loneliness than neutral mood condition, whereas nondieters displayed the opposite pattern. A comparable pattern was found in the relation between the revised UCLA Loneliness Scale and food consumption with respect to Restraint; the amount of food consumed increased as a function of loneliness for high restrained eaters, whereas the amount of food consumed decreased as a function of loneliness for low restrained eaters. There were no appreciable effects of the sad mood induction, nor prediction by dispositional depression, regarding the amount of food consumed as a function of dietary restraint. The findings were discussed with respect to the motivational role that loneliness may play in inhibiting and disinhibiting food consumption. © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 25:55–64, 1999.