Dysfunctional Eating Behaviours: the Role of the Original and Revised Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory and Eating Expectancies

Julie Hennegan (2010). Dysfunctional Eating Behaviours: the Role of the Original and Revised Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory and Eating Expectancies Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Julie Hennegan
Thesis Title Dysfunctional Eating Behaviours: the Role of the Original and Revised Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory and Eating Expectancies
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Natalie Loxton
Total pages 110
Abstract/Summary The revised Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory (RST) (Gray & McNaughton, 2000) posits that three neurologically-based motivational subsystems underlie behaviour. The Behavioural Approach System (BAS) and Fight/Flight/Freeze System (FFFS) are proposed to underpin response to appetitive and aversive stimuli, respectively. The Behavioural Inhibition System (BIS) is proposed to detect and resolve conflicts between these systems. The purpose of the present study was to use RST to evaluate individual differences that may underlie eating behaviours. Three research questions were addressed. Firstly, the relationships between RST systems and two dimensions of eating, restraint and disinhibition, as well as actual eating behaviour, were investigated. Secondly, the study sought to assess the validity of the revised theory in comparison with the original theory. Finally, the mediating role of eating expectancies between RST and eating behaviours was examined. Two-hundred and forty-three women completed self-report measures of the original and revised RST systems, disordered eating, and eating expectancies. Actual food consumption was measured for 72 participants. Results found no significant correlations between RST and food consumed in the lab. Original RST conceptualisation of BAS correlated negatively with restrained eating and positively with disinhibited eating. However, a measure of the revised BAS was not significantly correlated with either eating behaviour. Disinhibited eating was significantly positively correlated with both original and revised BIS as well as and a component of FFFS. The expectation that eating helps to avoid aversive states mediated FFFS and disinhibited eating in addition to the measure of original BIS and disinhibited eating. In contrast, the expectation that eating leads to a loss of control mediated revised BIS and disinhibited eating. The relationship between the original measure of BAS and disinhibited eating was mediated by beliefs that eating is pleasurable and rewarding.

 
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Created: Wed, 06 Apr 2011, 11:21:42 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Psychology