The relationship between dieting and levels of perceived psychological stress in United Arab Emirates residents

Teresa Arora, Shamma Al Ketbi, Marwa Mubarak, Anood Al Othali, Sara Al Hajri, Adeeba Al Messabi, Fatema Al Jneibi


Arab Journal of Nutrition and Exercise, Vol. 2, No. 1

Published on 29th April, 2017


Aim: The primary aim of this cross-sectional research study was to investigate the potential differences in perceived psychological stress level in those dieting compared to those not undertaking a diet. The secondary objective was to assess if stress levels in those dieting were correlated with the duration of the diet.

Methods: We administered the previously validated Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) to 60 United Arab Emirates residents. Participants were also asked demographic questions concerning age and gender and were requested to indicate if they were currently undertaking a diet to achieve weight loss. Participants who were actively on a diet were also asked about the duration of the diet (days).

Results: A total of 60 participants were recruited to the study, of which 71.7% were female. The majority (71.7%) of the sample were 18-25 years old and 58.3% indicated that they were undertaking a diet at the time of data acquisition. The median total score on the PSS was 19 (14 – 22). There was a significant difference in PSS total score between those on a diet and those not (p=0.021). A positive correlation was found between number of days on a diet and perceived stress level (r=0.147) but this was not statistically significant (p=0.406).

Conclusions: Dieting behaviour was associated with higher levels of perceived psychological stress compared to those not undertaking a diet. Engaging in dieting behaviour is commonly driven by body dissatisfaction and may be linked to heightened stress due to social pressures or other factors.

 Keywords: diet; stress; body dissatisfaction; body image; perceived stress



diet; stress; body dissatisfaction; body image; perceived stress

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