Validation of the flexible and rigid control dimensions of dietary restraint

Int J Eat Disord. 1999 Jul;26(1):53-64. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1098-108x(199907)26:1<53::aid-eat7>;2-n.


Objective: Two subscales for the Eating Inventory (Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire) are developed and validated: Rigid and Flexible control of eating behavior.

Method: Study I is an analysis of questionnaire data and a 7-day food diary of 54,517 participants in a computer-assisted weight reduction program. Study II is a study of 85 subjects used to develop a final item pool. Study III is a questionnaire survey of a random sample (N = 1,838) from the West German population aged 14 years and above used to validate the developed subscales.

Results: Rigid control is associated with higher scores of Disinhibition, with higher body mass index (BMI), and more frequent and more severe binge eating episodes. Flexible control is associated with lower Disinhibition, lower BMI, less frequent and less severe binge eating episodes, lower self-reported energy intake, and a higher probability of successful weight reduction during the 1-year weight reduction program.

Discussion: Rigid and flexible control represent distinct aspects of restraint having different relations to disturbed eating patterns and successful weight control.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Energy Intake
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Weight Loss*