Emotional expression and eating in overweight and obesity
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Fox, Susan; Conneely, Sinéad; Egan, Jonathan (2017). Emotional expression and eating in overweight and obesity. Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine 5 (1), 337-357
Objectives: To explore psychological factors associated with emotional eating and obesity in a sample of overweight and obese adults attending a weight management programme. Design: A cross-sectional quantitative research design. Methods: Participants (n = 97) completed the Emotional Eating Subscale of the Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire, the Attitude towards Emotional Expression (AEE) scale and the mindful awareness observe subscale of the Kentucky Inventory of Mindfulness Skills scale. Clinical measures of body mass index (BMI) were also recorded. Results: Regression analyses revealed that AEE was a significant predictor of emotional eating (beta = 0.59, p = .000). Control, the belief that emotions should be controlled (beta = 0.39, p = .026) and the response to eat to diffuse emotion (beta = 0.37, p = .045) were statistically significant predictors of BMI. Mediation analyses revealed that mindful awareness skills had a significant indirect effect on the relationship between AEE and emotional eating. Conclusions: Findings highlight the influence of AEE on emotional eating and body weight, thereby helping to validate recent developments in an affect phobia model of emotional eating. The authors highlight the prevalence of emotional eating in overweight and obese adults. The potential preventative role of mindful awareness skills may be limited. Validation of the model may be a useful framework for the development and implementation of future weight management interventions.