Executive functions and the role of dieting: A comparison between English and Greek females

Tatsi, Eirini and Caswell, Noreen orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-6832-6822 (2020) Executive functions and the role of dieting: A comparison between English and Greek females. Journal of Health and Social Sciences . ISSN 2499-2240

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.19204/2020/xctv9


Introduction: This study investigated and compared the effect of dieting status and culture on executive functions (EFs) between English and Greek females. The moderating role of restrained eating, preoccupying cognitions, depressed affect and IQ was also investigated to provide further evidence of the nature of this effect.
Methods: A between-subjects design was employed, where 192 females were recruited from UK (n =45) and Greek (n =147) Universities; 99 were current dieters and 93 were non-dieters. The Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF-A) was used to assess Executive Functions (EFs). Participants also completed the Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire-Restraint
(DEBQ-R), Preoccupying cognitions, Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale (CESD), Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrices-Set I, and a questionnaire acquiring demographic information. MANOVA and MANCOVA analyses were carried out.
Results: There was a significant multivariate main effect for dieting status (P < 0.05) and nationality (P < 0.001). Specifically, dieters self-report greater difficulty on inhibit (P < 0.001), self- and task-monitor, organisation of materials and working memory (P < 0.01), and shift, emotional control, initiate and plan/organise (P < 0.05). A significant univariate effect was found
for nationality, in terms of emotional control (P < .0.01), whereby a higher mean T-score was revealed for Greek (M = 62.12; SD = 11.01) compared to English females (M = 59.28; SD =13.95). With DEBQ-R and preoccupying cognition scores entered as covariates, the effect of nationality, on emotional control, remained significant (P < 0.001). However, none of the main
effects for dieting status remained significant (P > 0.05).
Discussion and Conclusion: Greek females self-report greater difficulty in controlling their emotions. Dieters found to have a poorer ability on the components of EFs; nationality also found to have an effect on EFs. Outcomes of this research provide fruitful implications on the association between dieting, culture and EFs.

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