The role of motivation to eat in the prediction of weight control behaviors in female and male adolescents
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Objective: To examine whether motivation to eat variables predict changes in dieting and weight control behaviors in both gender groups over time. Method: Greek adolescents (n = 247), aged 14-18 years, completed questionnaires measuring different dimensions of motivation to eat, dieting, healthy and unhealthy weight control behaviors. Dieting and weight control behaviors were measured five months later. Results: Compliance motivation positively predicted changes in dieting in males and a number of unhealthy weight control behaviors in females. Coping motivation negatively predicted meal skipping in both genders and was associated with a lower risk of vomiting in females. Social motivation positively predicted eating less high fat food in males while pleasure motivation was associated with a reduced likelihood of eating more fruits and vegetables in females and a reduced risk of fasting in males. Conclusion: Intervention programs designed to facilitate healthy and circumvent unhealthy weight control practices in adolescents should attend to gender differences in motivational factors shown to predict dieting and weight control behaviors. For females it may be important to minimize compliance motivation whereas for males, programs that foster social motivation to eat might be appropriate. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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