An ecological momentary assessment of relapse crises in dieting

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2004 Apr;72(2):341-8. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.72.2.341.


Much of the research on relapse crises in dieting has focused on isolated lapse events and relied heavily on retrospective self-report data. The present study sought to overcome these limitations by using ecological momentary assessment (EMA) techniques to examine situations of dietary temptation and lapse with a sample of obese, formerly sedentary, postmenopausal women (N = 37) during the final week of a weight-loss intervention. Mood was associated with reports of dietary lapse. Abstinence-violation effects were more strongly associated with dietary lapses than temptations. Finally, coping responses distinguished dietary temptations from lapses. Education on the factors associated with relapse crises in dieting may be imperative for weight loss success and maintenance.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Postmenopause
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Self-Assessment
  • Social Environment*