Restrained eating and memory specificity

Christopher T. Ball, William & Mary
Shereen Singer, William & Mary
Eva Kemps
Marika Tiggemann


Autobiographical memories are personal experiences that we store across our life-span A reduced ability to retrieve specific autobiographical experiences has been reported for a number of clinical populations Previous research has found that the size of the memory specificity effect can predict disorder occurrence, severity, and treatment success The current research examined whether a similar relationship could be found between memory specificity and restrained eating in a female college student population Participants retrieved autobiographical memories that related to cue-words associated with dieting and body image. Individual differences in restrained eating were measured with the Restraint Scale (RS). Participants who scored higher on the concern-with-dieting sub-scale of the RS retrieved fewer specific autobiographical memories regardless of their current dieting activity. The memory specificity effect has the potential to serve as a predictor of eating disorder occurrence and treatment success, and may also assist with the development of interventions targeting such disorders. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.