Additional Effects of Reduced Emotional Eating on Associations of Weight Loss via Changes in Social Cognitive Theory Variables

Academic Article


  • Background: Improvements in the theory-based psychosocial variables of eating self-regulation, mood, and self-efficacy for controlled eating significantly predicted weight loss in community-based obesity treatments. However, in women, additional effects from reductions in emotional eating, and age and race/ethnicity are unclear. Methods: Women (N = 130) participating in a community-based cognitive-behavioral obesity treatment were assessed on changes in theory-based psychosocial variables and weight. Results: Treatment-associated improvements in self-regulation, mood, and self-efficacy over 3¬†months significantly predicted 6-month weight loss (R2 = 0.26), with self-regulation change being the strongest individual predictor. Entry of change in emotional eating into the prediction model significantly added to the variance in weight change explained. Age and race/ethnicity did not further improve the predictive strength. Conclusions: In addition to targeting self-regulation skill development and, to a lesser extent addressing mood and self-efficacy improvements, behavioral obesity treatments should focus on emotional eating to maximize their large-scale effects on excess weight.
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  • Annesi JJ