New paper from the Zlab on eating, emotion regulation and mindfulness (Kerin et al., 2018)

Kerin, J. L., Webb, H. J., Zimmer-Gembeck, M. J., & Mastro, S. (2018). Resisting the temptation of food: A new measure of regulating overeating and associations with emotion regulation and mindfulness. Australian Journal of Psychology, 70, 167-178. doi:10.1111/ajpy.12169

Objective: The ability to regulate overeating has been recognised as integral to healthy weight management and an alternative approach to dieting in addressing excess weight, yet it has received limited examination. Accordingly, our aim was to identify demographic and psychological correlates of overeating regulation in a sample of university students, to facilitate greater understanding of this self-regulatory capacity. Variables of interest included emotion regulation, mindfulness, eating pathology, age,
and gender.

Method: Self-report measures were completed by 312 Australian university students (68% female; Mage = 22 years).

Results: Exploratory factor analyses indicated three overeating regulation subscales: (1) general overeating regulation (general ability to resist overeating); (2) discomfort overeating dysregulation (inability to resist overeating when experiencing physical
pain or negative emotions); and (3) leisure overeating dysregulation (inability to resist overeating in leisure contexts and/or in the presence of high calorie foods). Overeating regulation was not associated with age; though young men reported better general
overeating regulation capacity than young women. Individuals reporting greater ability to regulate overeating (across all three subscales) reported better emotion regulation and mindfulness, and less eating pathology. Multiple regression analyses showed that the emotion regulation subscales of goal-directedness, emotional awareness, and impulse control, and the mindfulness subscales of acting with awareness and non-reactivity to inner experience were unique correlates of the overeating regulation

Conclusions: This study offers greater understanding about the different facets of overeating regulation, and highlights the relevance of emotion regulation and mindfulness in this adaptive eating practise.

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