, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 391-405

Differences Between Treatment Seekers in an Obese Population: Medical Intervention vs. Dietary Restriction

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This study examined two groups of people who were pursuing treatment for obesity: either medical intervention (a hospital group; N = 20) or support for dietary restriction (a community group; N = 18). This study addressed four questions: (1) Were there differences between the two groups in terms of their psychological distress (as measured by the Symptom Checklist)? (2) Does binge eating moderate psychological distress? (3) Do feelings of ineffectiveness moderate psychological distress? and (4) Which variables best accounted for group membership (i.e., type of treatment sought)? Results suggested that the hospital group was significantly more distressed than the community group. However, there were no differences between the two groups with respect to binge eating or feelings of ineffectiveness. These findings suggest that it is the effects of morbid obesity that are most likely to moderate psychological distress.