Disordered Eating Behaviors Through the Lens of Self-Determination Theory


  • Catherine Bégin
  • Annie Fecteau
  • Marilou Côté
  • Alexandra Bédard
  • Caroline Senécal
  • Carole Ratté


This study aimed to verify a conceptual model of eating regulation based on the Self-Determination Theory. This model suggests that basic psychological needs satisfaction is related to general self-determined motivation and autonomous regulation toward eating, which in turn are associated with less disordered eating behaviors and attitudes and better satisfaction with life. Two hundred thirty-nine women without an eating disorder completed self-reported questionnaires. The hypothesized model was tested with a serial multiple mediation analysis using PROCESS macro. The overall indirect effect of basic psychological needs satisfaction on life satisfaction through the three mediators, i.e. general motivation, regulation of eating behaviors, and eating behaviors and attitudes, was significant. Results are coherent with the Self-Determination Theory and add to past research by suggesting that basic psychological needs satisfaction might be a key target when addressing women’s disordered eating behaviors and attitudes.