Fear of fat and restrained eating: Negative body talk between female friends as a moderator

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Eating and Weight Disorders


Purpose: This study examined whether engagement in negative body talk would moderate the association between fear of fat and restrained eating among female friend dyads. Methods: Female friends (Npairs = 130) were recruited from a Midwestern university in the United States. The dyadic data were examined with an Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM). Results: Results showed that women’s fear of fat was significantly related to their own restrained eating behaviors. In contrast, women’s fear of fat was not significantly related to their friends’ restrained eating behaviors. Negative body talk was significantly related to restrained eating, as reported by both friends. The interaction between negative body talk and women’s own fear of fat was found to be significant. Although women with less fear of fat showed less restrained eating, engaging in more negative body talk with a friend increased their engagement in restrained eating. Women with more fear of fat engaged in more restrained eating, regardless of their engagement in negative body talk. Conclusion: Given the detrimental role of body talk between fear of fat and restrained eating, interventions may target reducing body talk among young women. No level of evidence for: Basic science, Animal study, Cadaver study, and Experimental study articles.


C. M. Chow is a faculty member in EMU's Department of Psychology.

*L. Ellis is an EMU student.

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