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A recent cognitive-behavioural theory of eating disorders proposes that people with eating disorders interpret symptoms of dietary restraint in terms of control. The primary aim of the present study was to test this hypothesis. A second aim was to test the hypothesis derived from clinical observation that people with eating disorders view these symptoms positively. Forty-four participants meeting DSM-IV criteria for a clinical eating disorder and 80 control participants with no history of an eating disorder completed an ambiguous scenario paradigm and self-report measures of eating disorder features and depression. Patients with eating disorders were significantly more likely to interpret symptoms of dietary control in terms of control, providing support for the cognitive-behavioural theory. There was only partial support for the second hypothesis. The implications for the new cognitive-behavioural theory and therapy are discussed.


Journal article


Behav Res Ther

Publication Date





887 - 894


Adult, Feeding Behavior, Feeding and Eating Disorders, Female, Humans, Internal-External Control, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Self Concept