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Eating habits and body image during pregnancy

Gough, Karen; (1998) Eating habits and body image during pregnancy. Doctoral thesis (D.Clin.Psy.), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Recently, research has started to investigate how women who are dissatisfied with their weight and appearance and who attempt to change them by dieting, adjust to the shape changes associated with pregnancy. Two studies have found that women with a history of dieting ('dieters') have a mixed reaction to the shape changes, but in general, it is more negative than that of non-dieters. The present study investigated whether it was a consistent finding that dieters react more negatively than non-dieters to the weight and shape changes that occur in pregnancy, and what variables affect women's reaction to the changes. In addition, the study examined body image, eating habits, and the relationship between these and mood during pregnancy. Body image, eating behaviours, mood, and variables predicted to be associated with how satisfied a woman is with the weight and shape changes during pregnancy, were measured in a group of pregnant women at approximately 20 weeks into pregnancy (n=109), and again when they were approximately 34 weeks pregnant (n=85). The results indicated that dieters were more dissatisfied than non-dieters with their pregnant bodies and with the weight and shape changes that had occurred. A number of the hypothesised predictor variables were associated with dissatisfaction for weight and shape changes, including perceived dissatisfaction of partner with changes, selfesteem, and whether expectations of weight gain were met. Body image was found to improve, albeit not significantly, and drive for thinness to decrease across the pregnancy. Dissatisfaction with weight and shape changes during pregnancy was associated with cognitive restraint and disinhibited eating patterns, and body dissatisfaction, dieting, and disinhibition were associated with negative affect. The findings were discussed in terms of implications for health care professionals working with pregnant women.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: D.Clin.Psy.
Title: Eating habits and body image during pregnancy
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Health and environmental sciences; Pregnancy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10103978
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