Self-reported dietary restraint is associated with elevated levels of salivary cortisol

Appetite. 2002 Feb;38(1):13-7. doi: 10.1006/appe.2001.0459.


Previous studies have found inconsistent relationships between restrained eating, dieting, and cortisol. The present study was designed to clarify the relationship between self-reported restrained eating and cortisol using multiple measures of dietary restraint. Eighty-five college-age women completed the Restraint Scale (RS) and the Cognitive Restraint Scale of the Three Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ-R) and provided a saliva sample for analysis of cortisol. Both measures of restraint were positively associated with elevated levels of salivary cortisol, although the TFEQ-R was more strongly associated than the RS. Restrained eating, characterized by largely unsuccessful efforts to control eating, may lead to elevated cortisol levels.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Diet, Reducing / psychology
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / biosynthesis*
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Saliva / physiology*
  • Self Disclosure*
  • Students / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Hydrocortisone