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Title: Obesity : an emotion-focused understanding and the role of clinical psychology
Author: Suter, Emily
ISNI:       0000 0004 2752 9430
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2011
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Obesity is a current priority for governments in developed countries, due to its increasing prevalence and associations with poor health. Clinical psychologists are among the professionals who work with people who are obese, considering both their physical and psychological wellbeing. In section one; a narrative review argues that the role of clinical psychologists in obesity treatment should be re-constructed. It suggests that that the predominant focus oh non-psychological outcomes, such as weight loss, may be misplaced given the evidence that cognitive and behavioural therapies lack efficacy in facilitating weight loss in the long term. Moreover, the review argues that by working towards weight loss outcomes, within a society preoccupied with thinness, clinical psychology may be making contingent the relationship between weight and psychological wellbeing. The review therefore argues that clinical psychologists are justified in shifting their focus from weight loss to psychological outcomes, which may enable a disassociation between weight and psychological wellbeing. Section two reports findings from a quantitative study examining the role of emotions in binge eating behaviours in people who are obese and seeking treatment for their weight. Fifty one people participated in the study. The variables: perception of threat from sadness and anger, as well as emotional expressiveness and emotional eating were considered, alongside a known predictor of binge eating, depression. The results of the study indicated that depression and emotional eating predicted binge eating; however perception of threat from sadness, anger and emotional expressiveness did not significantly contribute to the additional variance in this behaviour. The findings suggest that binge eating may serve an 'affect regulatory' function, although further research is needed to examine the nuances of emotional experience in this group of people.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available