Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a devastating disorder involving restriction of food, low body weight, and anxiety and fears of weight gain. Whereas AN is an individual disorder, it exists within the broader social context. This investigation proposes a novel framework for understanding dietary restriction as one manifestation of a broader restricting phenomenon that extends to interpersonal functioning. Results of the investigation based on this framework indicate that higher levels of dietary restraint were associated with more distanced, restrictive communication in videotaped couple interactions related to eating disordered topics. In addition, greater dietary restraint was associated with less interest in sexual intimacy. Limitations, future directions, and clinical implications are discussed and related to current treatment outcome research in the area of couples and AN.