Effects of obesity treatment-associated changes in mood and self-regulation on high emotional eating

Academic Article


  • Emotional eating (EmE) is a strong predictor of obesity, but not well-addressed within obesity treatments. Women with high EmE participating in small group obesity treatments emphasizing either self-regulation (n = 54) or typical instruction in weight-loss methods (n = 30) significantly improved scores on EmE related to depression and anxiety, self-regulation of eating, the mood dimensions of dejection and tension, and physical activity/exercise within this 6-month study. The self-regulation group had significantly greater improvements on EmE related to anxiety, and self-regulation. Significant predictions of reduction in EmE-depression and EmE-anxiety by decreased dejection and tension, respectively, were significantly mediated by self-regulation changes. Treatment-related increase in physical activity/exercise was associated with reduced dejection and tension. Subsequent analyses suggested only 2.5 moderate physical activity/exercise sessions/week were associated with significant mood improvements. Findings indicated that high EmE can be reduced within obesity treatments via a focus on exercise-induced mood improvements and self-regulatory skill development.
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  • Annesi JJ