Predictors of Adolescent Dieting Behaviors: A Longitudinal Study

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Research suggests that dieting is a risk factor for bulimia nervosa, yet little is known about the predictors of dieting. Accordingly, this study examined the correlates and prospective predictors of dieting in a community sample of adolescent girls (N = 320). Results indicated that body mass, pressure to be thin, thin-ideal internalization, body dissatisfaction, and binge eating were positively correlated with dieting. Moreover, body mass, pressure to be thin, body dissatisfaction, and binge eating prospectively predicted increased dieting over a 9-month period. Multivariate analyses revealed that this set of predictors accounted for significant variance in concurrent and subsequent dieting, although only some of the unique effects were significant in the full models. Not only do these findings identify several risk factors for dieting, but they also suggest that dieting may be a response to bulimic pathology.

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