Emotional eating during COVID-19 in the United Kingdom: Exploring the roles of alexithymia and emotion dysregulation

McAtamney, Katherine and Mantzios, Michail and Egan, Helen and Wallis, Deborah J. (2021) Emotional eating during COVID-19 in the United Kingdom: Exploring the roles of alexithymia and emotion dysregulation. Appetite, 161. p. 105120. ISSN 1095-8304

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Emotional eating, generally defined as (over)-eating in response to negative emotions, has been associated with poor physical and psychological outcomes. During a time of heightened negative affect, it is important to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdown measures on eating behaviours, and further elucidate the ways in which emotional eating is related to emotion dysregulation and impaired abilities to identify emotions (i.e. alexithymia). The aims of this study were to explore perceived changes in eating behaviours in relation to self-reported negative affect during the pandemic and to examine direct and indirect effects of alexithymia on emotional eating. An online questionnaire measured these constructs in the general population of the United Kingdom (n = 136). Findings demonstrated that those who reported changes to their eating behaviours during the pandemic also reported greater levels of depression during the same time frame. Mediation analyses revealed that difficulties identifying and describing feelings both predicted emotional eating indirectly via emotion dysregulation. Findings contribute to the understanding of the mechanisms underpinning the relationship between alexithymia and emotional eating and describe changes to eating behaviours during COVID-19. We discuss how these findings should be applied, and recommendations for future research. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.]

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ** From PubMed via Jisc Publications Router ** History: received 30-07-2020; revised 21-12-2020; accepted 09-01-2021.
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2021.105120
9 January 2021Accepted
12 January 2021Published
Uncontrolled Keywords: Alexithymia, Emotion dysregulation, Emotional eating, Mediation, Pandemic
Subjects: CAH04 - psychology > CAH04-01 - psychology > CAH04-01-01 - psychology (non-specific)
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences > Dept. Psychology
SWORD Depositor: JISC PubRouter
Depositing User: JISC PubRouter
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2021 10:18
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2023 03:00
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10824

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