Current Psychology

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 92–99 | Cite as

The Relation of Dietary Restraint and Affect with Food Choice and the Experience of Guilt after Eating

  • Kyle P. De YoungEmail author
  • Mary Zander
  • Terra Towne
  • Nicole M. Della Longa
  • Lindsey Hovrud
  • Erin Murtha-Berg


This study examined the relation of affect and the desire to restrict intake (i.e., dietary restraint) with food choice and the experience of guilt after eating. We hypothesized that restraint would predict choosing lower-calorie foods except when individuals with high restraint experienced negative affect, and guilt after eating would be associated with restraint among individuals with high negative affect. Participants (N = 309) completed measures of restraint and eating psychopathology before experiencing a positive, negative, or no mood induction. Participants then chose foods from four menus and ate one food item before rating their momentary guilt. Restraint predicted choosing lower calorie foods, but negative affect did not influence this relationship. An interaction of restraint and negative mood predicted guilt after eating. Thus, dietary restraint predicts restriction at the choice-level, and individuals high on restraint may interpret negative emotion while eating as a failure of behavioral control, producing guilt.


Dietary restraint Negative affect Eating psychopathology Guilt 


Compliance with Ethical Standards


There was no funding body for this study.

Research Involving Human Participants

All procedures performed in this study were approved by the local institutional review board.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflicts of Interest

In addition to being an assistant professor at the University of Wyoming, Dr. De Young is the Director for Communications for the Academy for Eating Disorders and Adjunct Scientist at the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute. Dr. Zander declares that she has no conflict of interest. Ms. Towne declares that she has no conflict of interest. Ms. Della Longa declares that she has no conflict of interest. Ms. Hovrud declares that she has no conflict of interest. Ms. Murtha-Berg declares that she has no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kyle P. De Young
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mary Zander
    • 2
  • Terra Towne
    • 2
  • Nicole M. Della Longa
    • 2
  • Lindsey Hovrud
    • 3
  • Erin Murtha-Berg
    • 2
  1. 1.University of WyomingLaramieUSA
  2. 2.University of North DakotaGrand ForksUSA
  3. 3.University of South DakotaVermillionUSA

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