FREE Intervention Study
Data were collected to evaluate a Behavioral Weight Loss (BWL) plus Dialectical-Behavioral Therapy (DBT) program for overweight and obese adults with high emotional eating. Emotion regulation skills, emotional eating, other psychological variables, health behaviors, and weight-related outcomes were measured before, throughout, and after the program, as well as at follow-up.
Examination of the Biosocial Model as a Theory of Emotional Eating
Behavioral interventions using adapted versions of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) have been used to target emotional eating (EE). DBT is based on the Biosocial Model which claims that emotional sensitivity and childhood invalidation combine to influence the development of psychological and behavioral problems. The present study examined whether emotion regulation difficulties mediated relationships between biosocial variables (i.e., emotional sensitivity and childhood invalidation) and EE. Adults (N = 258; age = 36.52 + 11.02; 50% female) were recruited using Amazon Mechanical Turk. Results showed that emotion regulation difficulties served as a mediator between main components of the biosocial model (emotional reactivity and perceived childhood invalidation; Linehan, 1993) and emotional eating. The present study is the first to demonstrate that the major aspects of biosocial theory are related to emotional eating. See published study here.
Emotional Reactivity as a Moderator of Relationships between Emotional Eating and Binge Eating
This secondary analysis examined valence-specific effects of emotional reactivity (negative and positive emotional reactivity) and emotional eating (negative and positive emotional eating) on binge eating in an online community sample of adults. Exploratory results highlighted valence-specific effects such that more quickly experienced (e.g., ease of activation) and intense positive emotions, coupled with a tendency to eat in response to positive emotions, was associated with higher binge eating severity. Alternatively, longer duration of negative emotions, coupled with a tendency to eat in response to negative emotions, was associated with higher binge eating severity. See published study here.
Emotion Regulation Difficulties Strengthens Relationships Between Negative, Not Positive, Emotional Eating and Disordered Eating
This secondary analysis examined emotion regulation difficulties as a moderator of relationships between negative and positive emotional eating and disordered eating. Across two separate measures of negative emotional eating, higher negative emotional eating was associated with higher weight concerns and global scores of disordered eating when emotion regulation difficulties was average and increased (+1 SD above average). Higher positive emotional eating was associated with lower dietary restraint and global scores of disordered eating when emotion regulation difficulties was decreased (−1 SD below average). Emotion regulation difficulties strengthened relationships between negative, not positive, emotional eating and disordered eating. See published study here.
Acting with Awareness Mindfulness Weakens the Relationship between Negative Emotional Eating and Binge Eating
This secondary analysis examined the potential for mindfulness facets (e.g., acting with awareness, describe, non-judgement, non-reactivity, and observe) to weaken the relationship between negative emotional eating and binge eating in an online community sample of adults. Internal facets of mindfulness (e.g., acting with awareness) interacted with negative emotional eating in relation to binge eating severity. Findings add information to theory driving these maladaptive eating phenotypes (e.g., affect regulation theory). See published study here.
Psychosocial Correlates of Emotional Eating
This secondary analysis examined perceived parental feeding practices (e.g., monitoring and restriction of unhealthy food, pressure to eat) during childhood and emotion regulation difficulties as correlates of negative and positive emotional eating in adulthood in an online community sample. Emotion regulation difficulties strengthened relationships between perceived parental feeding practices and negative (e.g., eating in response to anger, anxiety, and boredom) and positive emotional eating. See published study here.