Does emotional eating interfere with success in attempts at weight control?

Appetite. 1990 Oct;15(2):151-7. doi: 10.1016/0195-6663(90)90047-c.


Questionnaire responses from a convenience sample were used to test for hypothesized relationships between changes over time in individuals' reported frequency of emotional eating and estimates of their success in attempts to reduce body weight over periods of at least 1 year. Respondents were 187 English adults, whose distribution of estimated Body Mass Indices (BMI) approximately that of the general population. Initial BMI was significantly (p less than 0.001) positively associated with reported frequency of emotional eating. Moreover, respondents indicating initially relatively high levels of emotional eating who reported a reduction in that level were found to lose significantly (p less than 0.01) more reported weight and to be significantly (p less than 0.05) more successful at approaching target weight over the period of the study than respondents who continued to report high levels of emotional eating. Similarly, respondents who reported an increase from initially relatively low levels of emotional eating, while not losing significantly less reported weight, were significantly (p less than 0.05) less successful at approaching target weight than those respondents who continued to report low levels of emotional eating.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Eating / psychology*
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Weight Loss*