Advertisement

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

Abstract

Purpose

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

Methods

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

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.

Conclusion

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.

Keywords

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

Notes

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.

References

  1. 1.
    Fredrickson BL, Roberts TA (1997) Objectification theory: Toward understanding women’s lived experiences and mental health risks. Psychol Women Q 21(2):173–206. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6402.1997.tb00108.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Smolak L (2004) Body image in children and adolescents: where do we go from here? Body Image 1(1):15–28. doi: 10.1016/S1740-1445(03)00008-1 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Wiseman CV, Gray JJ, Mosimann JE, Ahrens AH (1992) Cultural expectations of thinness in women: an update. Int J Eat Disord 11(1):85–89. doi: 10.1002/1098-108X(199201)11:1<85::AID-EAT2260110112>3.0.CO;2-T CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Levitt DH (2003) Drive for thinness and fear of fat: separate yet related constructs? Eat Disord 11(3):221–234. doi: 10.1080/10640260390218729 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    American Psychiatric Association (2013) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th edn). American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DCCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Levitt DH (2004) Drive for thinness and fear of fat among college women: Implications for practice and assessment. J Coll Counsel 7(2):109–118. doi: 10.1002/j.2161-1882.2004.tb00242.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Shapiro S, Newcomb M, Loeb T (1997) Fear of fat, disregulated-restrained eating, and body-esteem: prevalence and gender differences among eight-to ten-year-old children. J Clin Child Psychol 26(4):358–365. doi:  10.1207/s15374424jccp2604_4 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    van Strien T, Frijters JE, Bergers G, Defares PB (1986) The Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire (DEBQ) for assessment of restrained, emotional, and external eating behavior. Int J Eat Disord 5(2):295–315. doi: 10.1002/1098-108X(198602)5:2<295::AID-EAT2260050209>3.0.CO;2-T CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Webb HJ, Zimmer-Gembeck MJ (2014) The role of friends and peers in adolescent body dissatisfaction: a review and critique of 15 years of research. J Res Adolesc 24(4):564–590. doi: 10.1111/jora.12084 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Nichter M (2000) Fat talk: what girls and their parents say about dieting. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Shannon A, Mills JS (2015) Correlates, causes, and consequences of fat talk: a review. Body Image 15:158–172. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2015.09.003 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Dalley SE, Buunk AP (2009) “Thinspiration” vs. “fear of fat”. Using prototypes to predict frequent weight-loss dieting in females. Appetite 52(1):217–221. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2008.09.019 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Shaw H, Ramirez L, Trost A, Randall P, Stice E (2004) Body image and eating disturbances across ethnic groups: more similarities than differences. Psychol Addict Behav 18(1):12–18. doi: 10.1037/0893-164X.18.1.12 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Davison KK, Markey CN, Birch LL (2003) A longitudinal examination of patterns in girls’ weight concerns and body dissatisfaction from ages 5 to 9 years. Int J Eat Disord 33(3):320–332. doi: 10.1002/eat.10142 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Dalley SE, Toffanin P, Pollet TV (2012) Dietary restraint in college women: fear of an imperfect fat self is stronger than hope of a perfect thin self. Body Image 9(4):441–447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Wellman JD, Araiza AM, Newell EE, McCoy SK (2017). Weight stigma facilitates unhealthy eating and weight gain via fear of fat. Adv Online Publ Stigma Health. doi: 10.1037/sah0000088 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Bennett NA, Spoth RL, Borgen FH (1991) Bulimic symptoms in high school females: Prevalence and relationship with multiple measures of psychological health. J Commun Psychol 19(1):13–28. doi: 10.1002/1520-6629(199101)19:1<13::AID-JCOP2290190103>3.0.CO;2-Q CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Tan CC, Chow CM (2014) Weight status and depression: moderating role of fat talk between female friends. J Health Psychol 19(10):1320–1328. doi: 10.1177/1359105313488982 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Arroyo A, Harwood J (2012) Exploring the causes and consequences of engaging in fat talk. J Appl Commun Res 40(2):167–187. doi: 10.1080/00909882.2012.654500 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Jones DC, Vigfusdottir TH, Lee Y (2004) Body image and the appearance culture among adolescent girls and boys: an examination of friend conversations, peer criticism, appearance magazines, and the internalization of appearance ideals. J Adolesc Res 19(3):323–339. doi: 10.1177/0743558403258847 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Clarke PM, Murnen SK, Smolak L (2010) Development and psychometric evaluation of a quantitative measure of “fat talk”. Body Image 7(1):1–7. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2009.09.006 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Royal S, MacDonald DE, Dionne MM (2013) Development and validation of the fat talk questionnaire. Body Image 10(1):62–69. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2012.10.003 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Arroyo A, Segrin C, Harwood J, Bonito JA (2016). Co-rumination of fat talk and weight control practices: an application of confirmation theory. Health Commun. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2016.1140263 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Chow CM, Tan CC (2016) Weight status, negative body talk, and body dissatisfaction: a dyadic analysis of male friends. J Health Psychol 21(8):1597–1606. doi: 10.1177/1359105314559621 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Ousley L, Cordero ED, White S (2008) Fat talk among college students: how undergraduates communicate regarding food and body weight, shape, and appearance. Eat Disord J Treat Prev 16:73–84. doi: 10.1080/10640260701773546 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Rudiger JA, Winstead BA (2013) Body talk and body-related co-rumination: associations with body image, eating attitudes, and psychological adjustment. Body Image 10(4):462–471. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2013.07.010 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Corning AF, Gondoli DM (2012) Who is most likely to fat talk? A social comparison perspective. Body Image 9(4):528–531. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2012.05.004 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Kenny DA, Kashy DA, Cook WL (2006) Dyadic data analysis. Guilford, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Crandall CS (1994) Prejudice against fat people: Ideology and self-interest. J Pers Soc Psychol 66(5):882–894. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.66.5.882 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Campbell LJ, Kashy DA (2002) Estimating actor, partner, and interaction effects for dyadic data using PROC MIXED and HLM5: a brief guided tour. Personal Relatsh 9:327–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Aiken LS, West SG (1991) Multiple regression: testing and interpreting interactions. Sage, Newbury ParkGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Sharpe H, Naumann U, Treasure J, Schmidt U (2013) Is fat talking a causal risk factor for body dissatisfaction? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Eat Disord 46(7):643–652CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Tapper K, Pothos EM (2010) Development and validation of a food preoccupation questionnaire. Eat Behav 11(1):45–53. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2009.09.003 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Stommel M, Schoenborn CA (2009) Accuracy and usefulness of BMI measures based on self-reported weight and height: findings from the NHANES & NHIS 2001–2006. BMC Public Health 9(1):421. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-9-421 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Hart E, Chow CM, Tan CC (2017). Body talk, weight status, and pathological eating behavior in romantic relationships. Adv Online Publ Appetite. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.06.012 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations