Associations between Resilience and Food Intake Are Mediated by Emotional Eating in the NutriNet-Santé Study

J Nutr. 2022 Aug 9;152(8):1907-1915. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxac124.


Background: Resilience, the ability to bounce back or recover from stress, has been associated with several health-related behaviors. However, data on food intake and emotional eating are lacking.

Objectives: The objective of this cross-sectional study was to analyze the associations between resilience and diet quality and ultraprocessed food (UPF) and food group consumption, and to assess whether emotional eating was a mediator of these associations.

Methods: In 2017, 17,840 participants (73.5% female, mean age = 55.4 ± 14.0 y) of the NutriNet-Santé study completed the Brief Resilience Scale, the revised 21-item Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire, and ≥3 self-administered 24-h dietary records. Diet quality was assessed with the modified French National Nutrition and Health Program Guideline Score. Foods and beverages consumed were categorized according to their degree of processing by the NOVA classification. We assessed the association between resilience and emotional eating using linear regression models. We also assessed the mediating role of emotional eating in the associations between resilience and diet quality, energy intake, and UPF and food group consumption, controlling for sociodemographic characteristics.

Results: In our study, resilience was negatively associated with emotional eating (P < 0.0001). More resilient participants had greater overall diet quality, greater intakes of seafood, whole-grain foods, fats, unsalted oleaginous fruits, and alcoholic beverages, and lower intakes of UPFs, starchy foods, dairy desserts, sugary fatty products, and sugar and confectionery (all P < 0.05). Emotional eating was a mediator of the inverse associations between resilience and intake of energy, UPFs, dairy desserts, sugary fatty products, and of the positive associations between resilience and alcoholic beverages (all P < 0.05), with a 20-70% mediation.

Conclusions: Our findings showed that resilience was associated with an overall better diet quality in the NutriNet-Santé population-based study. These associations were partially explained by emotional eating. These findings suggest that resilience should be considered in the promotion of healthy dietary habits.The study is registered at as #NCT03335644.

Keywords: diet quality; emotional eating; food group consumption; positive psychology; resilience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet*
  • Eating
  • Energy Intake*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Resilience, Psychological*

Associated data