Relation of Successful Dietary Restriction to Change in Bulimic Symptoms: A Prospective Study of Adolescent Girls

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Recent experimental evidence that dietary restriction results in decreased bulimic and depressive symptoms seems inconsistent with findings from prospective studies and etiologic theory. However, because the dieting manipulated in these experiments may be unrepresentative of real-world weight loss dieting, the authors tested whether successful dietary restriction was associated with decreases in these outcomes by using longitudinal data from a school-based study of 496 adolescent girls. Moderately overweight participants who evidenced successful dietary restriction showed significantly greater decreases in bulimic symptoms than weight-matched participants who did not show successful dietary restriction; however, there were no effects for depressive symptoms. In conjunction with past experimental findings, results seem to imply that successful dietary restriction curbs bulimic symptoms, suggesting that current etiologic models may need revision.

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