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Title: Eating behaviour and the role of emotions
Author: Hepworth, Rebecca
ISNI:       0000 0001 3553 9362
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2008
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It is well recognised that emotions impact on eating behaviour and that negative affect in particular can lead to overeating (i.e. stress-induced overeating), which in turn, has been implicated in the onset of obesity. Different psychological views have attempted to understand this relationship and these are reviewed in this paper, with particular emphasis placed on understanding the role of negative affect in the maintenance of overeating. There is a growing body of research suggesting that trait individual differences such as weight category, eating style (emotional, external or restrained eating) and 'sensitivity to reward' are important in moderating this stress-eating relationship. This review therefore proposes to look at the empirical evidence in order to answer several key questions: Is there a general effect of mood on eating in obese and non-obese individuals? Do trait individual differences in eating style and reward sensitivity moderate the relationship between mood and eating? Do other variables (e.g. type of food or stressor) moderate the relationship between mood and eating? The evidence suggests that the findings are mixed with regards to the importance of weight category; i.e., obesity alone does not predict vulnerability to stress-induced eating, as there is a general effect of mood on eating in non-obese individuals. Research findings are discussed which suggest that eating style, sensitivity to reward, type of stressor and type of food consumed, have importance in moderating the stress-eating relationship. However, there is ambiguity surrounding the causal nature of these relationships and there is a lack of theory- driven research, which explores the underlying mechanisms, which might moderate and maintain these relationships. Future research and clinical implications are considered in light of these findings.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available