Recent Publications

Bolded = PI; * = doctoral student; **undergraduate student
  1. Braden, A., & O’Brien, W. (2021). Pilot Study of a Treatment Using Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Skills for Adults with Overweight/Obesity and Emotional Eating. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy51(1), 21-29. [Link]

    I'm very excited to share that the Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy recently published an article that I co-authored with my colleague Bill O'Brien. In this paper, we describe our initial pilot study of the FREE program. Live FREE: FReedom from Emotional Eating is a novel treatment that I designed for people who want to lose weight and are emotional eaters. Most weight loss programs teach people that in order to lose weight, they need to cut calories and increase exercise. However, eating in response to emotions (emotional eating) can interfere with the ability to stick to those lifestyle changes long-term. In FREE, we spend a lot of time teaching people how to identify, label, change and accept emotions in order to decrease emotional eating. The results from our pilot study allowed us to make important changes to our treatment protocol and sessions that we hope will make the FREE program more effective in the future!

2. Watford, T. S., Braden, A., & O’Brien, W. H. (2020). Resting State Heart Rate Variability in Clinical and Subthreshold Disordered Eating: A meta-analysis. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 53(7), 1021-1033.

    I am so pleased that the article I co-authored with my research mentors Abby Braden and Bill O'Brien was recently published by The International Journal of Eating Disorders. Some research suggested the parasympathetic nervous system plays a role in disordered eating, but it wasn't clear what that role might be. This paper discusses the results of a meta-analysis about vagal activation and both clinical and subthreshold disordered eating. Interestingly, individuals with disordered eating demonstrate higher vagal activation compared to those with little or no disordered eating behavior. Moderation analysis revealed the really interesting findings! Compared to other types of disordered eating, the role of parasympathetic activation is largest if the person's disordered eating meets criteria for bulimia nervosa. Also, if the person's disordered eating meets criteria for any clinical eating disorder, parasympathetic activation is more strongly related to disordered eating behavior than for people with subthreshold disordered eating behavior. This paper has some interesting discussion about the implications of these psychophysiological mechanisms of disordered eating!

3.*Barnhart, W. R., Braden, A. L., & Dial, L. A. (2021). Understanding the relationship between negative emotional eating and binge eating: The moderating effects of acting with awareness and non-reactive mindfulness. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 77(9), 1954-1972. [Link]

    We are excited to share a recent lab publication in the Journal of Clinical Psychology! This study sought to better understand how emotional eating, or eating in response to negative emotions such as feelings of sadness, relates to disordered eating, specifically binge eating behavior. Binge eating behavior includes rapidly eating large quantities of food over a short period of time coupled with feelings of loss of control during the eating episode. In examining how these eating behaviors relate to each other, we can better understand which factors may be mutually beneficial in helping treat them. To this end, we also examined factors that help explain the relation between these problematic eating behaviors, a process called moderation. Specifically, we were interested in if mindfulness may weaken the relation between emotional eating and binge eating behavior, a finding that could be useful to researchers and clinicians interested in treating these problematic eating behaviors. A unique aspect of this study is that we assessed how specific facets of mindfulness, as opposed to the broader construct, moderate the relation between emotional eating and binge eating. Each facet represents a unique dimension of the overall process of mindfulness. Our findings suggested that eating in response to depression was less strongly associated with binge eating severity in participants who reported higher acting with awareness mindfulness. We also found that eating in response to depression was more strongly associated with binge eating severity in participants who reported higher non‐reactive mindfulness. Our findings suggest that active attention to one's internal thoughts, feelings, and emotions in the moment may be associated with lower binge eating severity among people with concurrent emotional eating styles, particularly eating in response to depression.

4.*Barnhart, W. R., Braden, A. L., & Dial, L. A. (2021). Emotion regulation difficulties strengthen relationships between perceived parental feeding practices and emotional eating: Findings from a cross-sectional study. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 28(5), 647-663. [Link]

    We are excited to share a recent lab publication in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine! This study sought to better understand how parent feeding practices, including parental control of unhealthy eating and pressure to eat in the home, relate to emotional eating or eating in response to a range of negative and positive emotions. In this study, participants reported on their parents’ feeding practices when they were children (i.e., retrospective reporting), and they reported on their emotional eating behavior currently as adults. In examining how retrospective parent feeding practices relate to emotional eating, we can better understand additional factors that may help explain how these variables relate to each other. One such factor is emotion regulation, which includes one’s awareness of a range of emotions and ability to accept, label, and act in healthy ways that help them cope with these emotions. Our findings suggest that higher retrospective reporting of parental control (monitoring and restriction) of unhealthy eating behaviors and pressure to eat were more strongly associated with negative and positive emotional eating in participants who reported more difficulties with regulating their emotions. Our findings suggest that improving one’s ability to regulate their emotions may be associated with lower emotional eating among people who report experiencing controlling feeding practices as children.

Updated: 12/01/2021 04:19PM