Cross-cultural study: Risk factors for dietary restraint in Mexican and German men


  • Gilda Gomez Peresmitre
  • Bukard Jaeger
  • Gisela Pineda Garcia
  • Silvia Platas Acevedo


Dietary restraint is, together with other risk factors, part of an integrative etiological theory that contemplates direct and mediational mechanisms by which risk factors (ideal and actual figures, body dissatisfaction, ineffectiveness and body mass index) might work together to promote dieting and risky eating behaviors. To gain a better understanding of the risk factors associated with dieting, it was proposed to identify similarities and differences between Mexican and German cultures, and to develop structural models by comparing the interrelations of dieting risk factors. The sample (N = 221) was formed of medical and nursing male students, who completed a survey assessing these risk factors. There were 73 Mexicans and 148 Germans. The mean age of the total sample was M = 20.8 years (SD = 0.71). It was found that Mexican men displayed a higher body mass (t (177) = -4.2 p= .000) and were more dissatisfied with their body (t (184)=-2.9, p=.004), and also showed higher restrictive dieting (t (190) = 2.2, p= .03) than German men did. The hypothesized role of the body dissatisfaction factor was confirmed in both Mexican and German models, body dissatisfaction showed a direct link with dieting (body dissatisfaction predicts dieting), as well as a mediate one between body mass and dieting, and between ideal figure and dieting (dieting is indirectly predicted by body mass or by ideal figure through body dissatisfaction). The relevance of this study is increased by the fact that it is a cross-cultural study, involving Mexican and German samples.