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Thesis ABSTRACT

A closer look at the relationship between smoking and restrained eating
by Marinilli, Angela S., M.A., University of Maryland Baltimore County, 2001

Research suggests that female smokers concerned about their weight tend to be attracted to perceived weight control properties of smoking and this may be related to smoking initiation, maintenance, and relapse in this group. This study used components of the Transtheoretical Model of Change to evaluate the relationship between dietary restraint, smoking, and eating self-efficacy among 104 female smokers and nonsmokers. As predicted, results revealed that restrained eaters who smoke report higher weight-control smoking scores compared to unrestrained eaters who smoke. There were no other significant relationships between restrained eating and smoking-related variables or restrained eating and self-efficacy to abstain from overeating. Exploratory analyses were conducted to evaluate the relationship of disinhibition (i.e., release of restraint) on smoking and eating variables. Individuals high on eating-related disinhibition reported greater difficulty controlling overeating in negative affect and socially acceptable situations compared to those low in disinhibition. In addition, smokers scoring high in disinhibition reported smoking more cigarettes on weekend days and greater temptation to smoke in social situations compared to smokers low in disinhibition. Lastly, an interaction between stage of change for smoking cessation and disinhibition status on weight control smoking indicated that although there were no differences in weight-control smoking between precontemplators high and low in disinhibition, contemplators scoring high in disinhibition reported higher scores on smoking to control weight compared to their low disinhibited counterparts. Results from this study suggest that disinhibited eating may be an important factor in understanding the relationship between weight concerns and smoking among females.