Psychosocial predictors of emotional eating and their weight-loss treatment-induced changes in women with obesity

Original Article



This study aimed at assessing whether psychosocial predictors of controlled eating and weight loss also predict emotional eating, and how differing weight-loss treatment methods affect those variables.


Women with obesity (M = 47.8 ± 7.9 years; BMI = 35.4 ± 3.3 kg/m2) were randomized into groups of either phone-supported self-help (Self-Help; n = 50) or in-person contact (Personal Contact; n = 53) intended to increase exercise, improve eating behaviors, and reduce weight over 6 months.


A multiple regression analysis indicated that at baseline mood, self-regulating eating, body satisfaction, and eating-related self-efficacy significantly predicted emotional eating (R2 = 0.35), with mood and self-efficacy as independent predictors. Improvements over 6 months on each psychosocial measure were significantly greater in the Personal Contact group. Changes in mood, self-regulation, body satisfaction, and self-efficacy significantly predicted emotional eating change (R2 = 0.38), with all variables except self-regulation change being an independent predictor. Decreased emotional eating was significantly associated with weight loss.


Findings suggest that weight-loss interventions should target specific psychosocial factors to improve emotional eating. The administration of cognitive-behavioral methods through personal contact might be more beneficial for those improvements than self-help formats.


Emotional eating Mood Self-efficacy Body satisfaction Self-regulation 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

For this study the authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

The authors certify that this research complied with ethical standards consistent with the Helsinki declaration.

Informed consent

Institutional review board approval and written informed consent from each participant was received.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • James J. Annesi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nicole Mareno
    • 1
  • Kristin McEwen
    • 2
  1. 1.Kennesaw State UniversityKennesawGeorgia
  2. 2.YMCA of Metropolitan AtlantaAtlantaUSA

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