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Journal of Consumer Policy

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 211–229 | Cite as

Eating Their Feelings: Examining Emotional Eating in At-Risk Groups in the United States

  • Elyria KempEmail author
  • My BuiEmail author
  • Sonya Grier
Original Paper

Abstract

Emotional eating affects many individuals and can lead to food overconsumption. The present research provides a theoretical foundation for examining the influence of food advertising, social norms, and related mediating influences on emotional eating. Insight offered through interviews with emotional eaters and an emotional eating conceptual model demonstrate that emotional eating is heavily influenced by food advertising, which can incite desire and ruminative thoughts about food. Additionally, emotional eaters may enlist prefactuals in the form of hedonic rationalizations to justify unhealthy eating behavior. Evidence from this research also suggests that individuals who emotionally eat may be doing so because such behavior has been learned. Finally, despite regulatory and policy efforts to create more informed consumers by providing nutrient content information on labels and packaging, emotional eaters possess little motivation to process this information. Implications for public policy and social marketing initiatives are discussed.

Keywords

Emotional eating Overconsumption Obesity Social marketing 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Texas State UniversitySan MarcosUSA
  2. 2.Loyola Marymount UniversityLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.American UniversityKogod School of BusinessWashingtonUSA

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