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Expressive writing's effects on disinhibited eating following an ego threatening event

Ledoux, Tracey
Scope and Method of Study: The purpose of this study was to assess whether increased self-awareness through expressive writing would help chronic dieters (CD) maintain dietary inhibition following an ego threatening event (i.e., lowered state self-esteem and mood). College women were recruited and categorized as either CD's or non-dieters (ND's) using Revised Restraint Scale scores. Participants were exposed to a failure task (i.e., ego threatening event) and then randomly assigned to either a high self-awareness writing condition (HSAWC) or low self-awareness writing condition (LSAWC). After twenty minutes of writing, participants were given cookies to "taste test."
Findings and Conclusions: A series of 2 (dieting status) X 2 (writing condition) analyses of variance were conducted on cookie grams consumed, linguistic markers of self-awareness in written text, and mood and state self-esteem following cookie consumption. Results showed that CD's were able to maintain dietary inhibition following an ego threatening event whether they wrote with high or low self-awareness.