Development of a novel mindfulness and cognitive behavioral intervention for stress-eating: a comparative pilot study

Eat Behav. 2014 Dec;15(4):694-9. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2014.08.002.

Abstract

Stress-related eating is increasingly cited as a difficulty in managing healthy eating behaviors and weight. However few interventions have been designed to specifically target stress-related eating. In addition, the optimal target of such an intervention is unclear, as the target might be conceptualized as overall stress reduction or changing emotional eating-related thoughts and behaviors. This pilot study compared the effects of three interventions targeting those components individually and in combination on stress-related eating, perceived stress, and weight loss to determine whether the two intervention components are effective alone or are more effective when combined. Fifty-three overweight participants (98% female) who reported elevated levels of stress and stress-eating and were at risk for obesity were randomly assigned to one of three six-week interventions: a modified mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) intervention, a cognitive behavioral stress-eating intervention (SEI), and a combined intervention that included all MBSR and SEI components. All three interventions significantly reduced perceived stress and stress-eating, but the combination intervention resulted in greater reductions and also produced a moderate effect on short term weight loss. Benefits persisted at six week follow-up.The pattern of results preliminarily suggests that the combination intervention (MBSR+SEI) may yield promise in the treatment of stress-related eating.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Eating / psychology*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness*
  • Overweight / therapy*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss