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Psychological concomitants of fasting in conditions of normal weight, obesity, health, illness, and prior drug use
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This study had two major objectives. The first was to determine whether relationships existed between selected demographic and attitudinal variables and selected personality variables among individuals in a total fasting regime. The second was to determine if significant differences existed between individuals fasting for different reasons in regard to overall attitude changes and changes in selected personality variables. Background characteristics and other information used to consign individuals to the appropriate groups were obtained by use of a questionnaire developed for that specific purpose. Attitudes toward fasting were determined by use of an attitudinal inventory developed for that purpose. Personality variables were measured using the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire and the Profile of Mood States. The populations of the study consisted of 37 individuals from the California Health Sanctuary and Chateau de Sage Health School who were grouped according to one of each of the following categories: (a) obese/non-obese; (b) ill/non-ill; (c) prior drug users/non-drug users; (d) veteran fasters/non-veteran (first-time) fasters. A no-treatment comparison group consisted of 16 individuals who were staying at the health institutions but were not fasting. Data analysis revealed numerous correlations for all combinations of variables in all groups. Significant differences in changes in attitudes were found only in the ill/non-ill group. The results indicated several significant differences in factors of the 16PF following the fast including changes on Factor I (Tender-Minded), Factor L (Suspicious), and Factor Q(,4) (Tense). On the scales of the POMS, there were significant changes in levels of tension, vigor, and fatigue noted among the different groups. There were descriptive, although not statistically significant, changes in levels of depression and anger. Ancillary analyses were conducted utilizing all combinations of fasters as one group. Data revealed that fasters reported significantly less tension, less anger, and more vigor than the comparison group. Both fasters and the comparison group reported decreases in depression and fatigue. Overall, distinct psychological improvements were noted in the fasting individual. The findings of the study are in sharp contrast to those of earlier studies warning that prolonged fasting is psychologically deleterious.
DescriptionIncludes bibliographical references (leaves 156-159)
Terry-Haag, Sharon Anne (1981). Psychological concomitants of fasting in conditions of normal weight, obesity, health, illness, and prior drug use. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Libraries. Available electronically from
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