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

  • Chong Man ChowEmail author
  • Holly Ruhl
  • Cin Cin Tan
  • Lilian Ellis
Original Article



This study examined whether engagement in negative body talk would moderate the association between fear of fat and restrained eating among female friend dyads.


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 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.


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.


Fear of fat Restrained eating Body talk Friends Actor-partner interdependence model Moderation 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

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


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chong Man Chow
    • 1
    Email author
  • Holly Ruhl
    • 2
  • Cin Cin Tan
    • 3
  • Lilian Ellis
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentEastern Michigan UniversityYpsilantiUSA
  2. 2.University of Texas-DallasRichardsonUSA
  3. 3.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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