Weight-related shame and guilt, intuitive eating, and binge eating in female college students

Eat Behav. 2019 Apr:33:44-48. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2019.03.002. Epub 2019 Mar 13.


Shame and guilt are associated with greater eating disorder symptomatology, including binge eating. These emotional states may be related to binge eating as a result of one's attempt to use food as a means of coping. Little research has examined associations between weight-specific negative emotions and eating behaviors. Even less research has examined the role of intuitive eating as a mitigating factor of these associations. This study examined the relationships among weight-related shame and guilt and binge eating symptomatology in a sample of 196 undergraduate women. Further, we assessed the role of intuitive eating as a moderator of these relationships. Female college students completed an online questionnaire assessing demographics, weight-related shame and guilt, intuitive eating, and binge eating. After accounting for covariates, including body mass index, multiple regression analyses revealed that weight-related shame and guilt were related to increased binge eating symptomatology. Further, intuitive eating attenuated the relationship between weight-related shame and binge eating, but not between weight-related guilt and binge eating. Intuitive eating may be a protective factor for women experiencing weight-related shame.

Keywords: Binge eating; Female college students; Intuitive eating; Weight-related guilt; Weight-related shame.

MeSH terms

  • Binge-Eating Disorder / psychology*
  • Body Image / psychology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Bulimia / psychology*
  • Emotions
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Food
  • Guilt*
  • Humans
  • Shame*
  • Students / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult