Disinhibition, Appetite, and Weight Regulation in Adults

  • Eleanor J. Bryant


Disinhibition (measured by the Three Factor Eating Questionnaire; Stunkard and Messick 1985) is an influential and dynamic eating behavior trait. Its importance in the field of eating behavior is becoming increasingly apparent. The objective of this chapter is to explore the etiology of Disinhibition, and its association with appetite regulation, weight status, and eating disturbances through homeostatic and hedonic processes. In addition, the application of this knowledge to other areas of health will be addressed. More specifically, this will focus on how Disinhibition could be used to identify individuals susceptible to weight gain and disturbed eating behavior, and how management of Disinhibition could be beneficial in both weight loss regimes and in treating eating disorders. Trait Disinhibition is characterized by a readiness to eat or to eat opportunistically, and thus is associated with a higher BMI and obesity. It has been demonstrated that high Disinhibition is predictive of a poorer success at weight loss and is associated with weight regain following weight loss, a low physical activity level, low self esteem, and poor psychological health. In addition, Disinhibition has been implicated in eating disorders and is associated with eating disorder severity. Disinhibition is thus a powerful trait that incorporates both psychological and physiological components which appear to influence an individual’s eating behavior and lifestyle choices.


Eating Behavior Eating Disorder Bulimia Nervosa Binge Eating Disorder Appetite Regulation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Binge eating disorder


Body mass index


Bulimia nervosa


High Disinhibition


High Restraint


High Disinhibition, high Restraint


High Disinhibition, low Restraint


Low Disinhibition, high Restraint


Low Disinhibition, low Restraint


Thermic effect of food


Three Factor Eating Questionnaire


Very low calorie diet


World Health Organisation


  1. Adami GF, Gandolfo P, Bauer B, Scopinaro N. Int J Eat Disord. 1995;17(1):45–50.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. al-Adsani H, Hoffer L, Silva J. J Clin Endoc & Metab. 1997;82:1118–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ardovini C, Caputo G, Todisco P, Grave R. Eur Eat Disords Rev. 1999;7:299.Google Scholar
  4. Balfour L, White D, Schiffrin ADG, Dufresne J. Health Psyc. 1993;12:33–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barkeling B, King NA, Naslund E, Blundell JE. Int J Obes. 2007;31:435–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bellisle F, Clement K, Le Barzic M, Le Gall A, Guy-Grand B, Basdevant A. Obes Res. 2004;12:2023–30.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bjorvell B, Aly A, Langius A, Nordstrom G. Int J Obes. 1994;18(8):521–5.Google Scholar
  8. Blum K, Nobel E. Handbook of psychiatric genetics. CRC Press: Boca Raton, Florida; 1997. pp. 311–27.Google Scholar
  9. Blundell JE, Stubbs RJ, Golding C, Croden F, Alam R et al. Physiol Behav. 2005;86:614–22.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Blundell J. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 1991;12:147–57.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Blundell J, King N, Bryant E. Interactions among physical activity, food choice, and appetite control: health messages in physical activity and diet. In: Cameron N, editor. Childhood obesity: contemporary issues. NET Morgon Taylor and Francis: London; 2006. pp. 135–47.Google Scholar
  12. Blundell JE, Levin F, King NA, Barkeling B, Gustafson T, Hellstrom PM, Holst JJ, Naslund E. Reg Peptides. 2008;149:32–38.Google Scholar
  13. Bond MJ, McDowell AJ, Wilkinson JY. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2001;25:900–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Borg P, Fogelholm M, Kukkonen-Harjula K. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004;28:1548–54.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Boschi V, Iorio D, Margiotta N, D’Orsi P, Falconi C. Ann of Nutr & Metab. 2001;45(2):72–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bouchard L, Drapeau V, Provencher V, Lemieux S, Chagnon Y et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;80:1478–86.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Brown K, Bryant E, Naslund E, King N, Blundell J. Obes Rev. 2006;7:330.Google Scholar
  18. Brunstrom JM, Yates HM, Witcomb GL. Physiol Behav. 2004;81:85–90.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Bryant E. Understanding disinhibition and its influences on eating behaviour and appetite. PhD Thesis University of Leeds, UK; 2006.Google Scholar
  20. Bryant E, Caudwell P, Hopkins M, King N, Blundell J. Obesity Facts: Eur J Obes. 2009;2(2):211.Google Scholar
  21. Bryant E, Finlayson G, King N, Blundell J. Obes Rev. 2006;7:343.Google Scholar
  22. Bryant E, Kiezebrink K, King NA, Blundell JE. Eating Weight Dis. 2010;15:43–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Bryant E, King N, Blundell J. Obes Revs. 2008;9:409–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Burgmer R, Grigutsch K, Zipfel S, Wolf AM, de Zwaan M et al. Obes Surg. 2005;15(5):684–91.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Butryn M, Thomas J, Lowe M. Obes Res. 2009;17:1101–3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Carmody TP, Brunner RL, St Jeor ST. Int J Eat Disord. 1995;18:256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Carton S, Jouvent R, Widlocher D. J Subst Abuse. 1994;6:67–76.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Chaput J, Drapeau V, Hetherington M, Lemieux S, Provencher V, Tremblay A. Physiol Behav. 2005;86:224–32.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Clark MM, Marcus BH, Pera V, Niaura RS. Int J Eati Disord. 1994;15:405.Google Scholar
  30. Contento IR, Zybert P, Williams SS. Prevent Med: nt J Devoted Pract. Th. 2005;40:336.Google Scholar
  31. Crovetti R, Porrini M, Santangelo A, Testolin G. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1997;52:488.Google Scholar
  32. Cuntz U, Leibbrand R, Ehrig C, Shaw R, Fichter MM. Int J Obes. 2001;25Suppl 1:99–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. d’Amore A, Massignan C, Montera P, Moles A, De Lorenzo A, Scucchi S. Intl J Obes. 2001;25:373–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Davis C, Woodside DB. Compr Psyc. 2002;43:189–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. de Castro JM, Lilenfeld LR. Nutrition. 2005;21(4):446–55.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Delparigi A, Chen K, Salbe AD, Reiman EM, Tataranni PA. Neuroimage. 2005;24(2):436–43.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Drapeau V, Provencher V, Lemieux S, Despres J-P, Bouchard C, Tremblay A. Int J Obes. 2003;27:814.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Drenowski A. Ann Rev Nutr. 1997;17:237–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Dykes J, Brunner EJ, Martikainen PT, Wardle J. Int J Obes. 2004;28:262–8.Google Scholar
  40. Fairburn C, Harrison P. Lancet. 2003;361:407–16.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Flint A, Raben A, Astrup A, Holst J. J Clin Investigation. 1998;101:515–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Fogelholm M, Kukkonen-Harjula K, Oja P. Int J Obes. 1999;23(2):203–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Foster GD, Wadden TA, Swain RM, Stunkard AJ, Platte P, Vogt RA. Int J Obes. 1998;22(8):778–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Foster GD, Wadden TA, Kendall PC, Stunkard AJ. J Consulting Clin Psyc. 1996;64:757.Google Scholar
  45. Gendall KA, Joyce PR, Sullivan PF, Bulik CM. Int J Eat Disord. 1998;24(4):371–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Granata G, Brandon L. Nutr Rev. 2002;60:223–33.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Hainer V, Kunesova M, Bellisle F, Hill M, Braunerova R, Wagenknecht M. Int J Obes. 2004;29:208–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Hainer V, Kunesova M, Bellisle F, Parizkova J, Braunerova R et al. Int J Obes. 2006;30:830–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Haynes C, Lee MD, Yeomans MR. Eat Behav. 2003;4:369–83.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Hays NP, Bathalon GP, McCrory MA, Roubenoff R, Lipman R, Roberts SB. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002a;75(3):476–83.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Hays NP, Bathalon GP, Roubenoff R, Lipman R, Roberts SB. J Gerontology: Series A: Bio Sci Med Scis. 2002b;57A:M133.Google Scholar
  52. Hays NP, Roberts SB. Obes Res. 2008;16:52–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Higgs S, Eskenazi T. Eat Behav. 2007;8:236–43.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Ito T, Okeda T, Sato Y, Ito M, Sakata T. Proc Soc Exper Bio Med. 1996;211:287–91.Google Scholar
  55. Johnston S, Merali Z. Peptides. 1998;9:233–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Karlsson J, Hallgren P, Kral J, Lindroos A-K, Sjostrom L, Sullivan M. Appetite. 1994;23(1):15–26.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Karlsson J, Sjostrom L, Sullivan M. Int J Obes. 1998;22(2):113–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Kensinger GJ, Murtaugh MA, Reichmann SK, Tangney CC. J Am Dietetic Assoc. 1998;98(8):863–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Kiernan M, King AC, Stefanick ML, Killen JD. Obes Res. 2001;9(12):770–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Klok MD, Jakobsdottir S, Drent ML. Obes Rev. 2007;8:21–34.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Knai C, Suhrcke M, Lobstein T. Econ Hum Biol. 2007;5:392–408.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Lahteenmaki L, Tuorila H. Physiol Behav. 1995;57:81–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. LaPorte DJ, Stunkard AJ. Int J Obes. 1990;14(3):197–206.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. Lawson OJ, Williamson DA, Champagne CM, DeLany JP, Brooks ER et al. Obes Res. 1995;3:153–61.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Lejeune MP, Hukshorn C, Saris WH, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Int J Obes. 2003;27:1494–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Levin F, King N, Barkeling B, Gustafsson T, Hellstrom P et al. Obes Res. 2004;12:444–9.Google Scholar
  67. Lutter M, Nestler E. J Nutr. 2009;139:629–32.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Marchesini G, Solaroli E, Baraldi L, Natale S, Migliorini S et al.. Diabetes, Nutr & Metab Clin Exp. 2000;13(3):156–64.Google Scholar
  69. McElroy SL, Kotwal R, Hudson JI, Nelson EB, Keck P Jr. J Clin Psyc. 2004;65:56.Google Scholar
  70. McGuire MT, Wing RR, Klem ML, Lang W, Hill JO. J Consult Clin Psyc. 1999;67:185.Google Scholar
  71. Michaud J, DeRossi C, May N, Holdener B, Fan C. Mech Dev. 2000;90:253–61.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Neale BM, Mazzeo SE, Bulik CM. Twin Res. 2003;6:478.Google Scholar
  73. Niemeier H, Phelan S, Fava J, Wing R. Obesity. 2007;15:2485–94.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Oeffner F, Bornholdt D, Ziegler A et al. Acta Diabetol. 2000;37:93–101.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Oliver KG, Huon GF. Int J Eat Disord. 2001;30(3):329–37.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Ouwens MA, van Strien T, van der Staak CP. Appetite. 2003;40:291–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Pekkarinen T, Takala I, Mustajoki P. Int J Obes. 1996;20:332–7.Google Scholar
  78. Perusse L, Rice T, Chagnon Y et al.. Diabetes. 2001;50:614–21.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Provencher V, Perusse L, Bouchard L, Drapeau V, Bouchard C et al. Obes Res. 2005;13:1624–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Provencher V, Drapeau V, Tremblay A, Despres JP, Lemieux S. Obes Res. 2003;11(6):783–92.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Richman RM, Webster P, Salgo AR, Mira M, Steinbeck KS, Caterson ID. Int J Obes. 1996;20:413–9.Google Scholar
  82. Sabol S, Nelson M, Fisher C. Health Psyc. 1999;18:7–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Schindler K, Prager G, Ballaban T, Kretschmer S, Riener R et al. Eur J Clin Invest. 2004;34(8):549–54.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. St Pierre DH, Karelis AD, Cianflone K, Conus F, Mignault D et al. J Clin Endocrin & Metab. 2004;89(12):5993–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Steinle NI, Hsueh WC, Snitker S, Pollin TI, Sakul H et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002;75:1098–106.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  86. Straub RH, Lamparter-Lang R, Palitzsch KD, Scholmerich J. Eur J Clin Invest. 1996;26(7):564–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Stunkard AJ, Messick S. J Psychosom Res. 1985;29:71–83.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Wadden TA, Foster GD, Sarwer DB, Anderson DA, Gladis M et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;80(3):560–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  89. Weinstein SE, Shide DJ, Rolls BJ. Appetite. 1997;28:18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Kempen KP, Saris WH. Int J Obes. 1998;22(1):1–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. World Health Organization. Obesity and overweight.; 2009.
  92. Yeomans M, Coughlan E. Appetite. 2009;52:290–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Yeomans M, Leitch M, Mobini S. Appetite. 2008;50:469–76.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Yeomans MR, Tovey HM, Tinley EM, Haynes CJ. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004;28:144–51.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Psychology Studies, Social Sciences and Humanities, Richmond HouseUniversity of BradfordWest YorkshireUK

Personalised recommendations