Indexed on: 22 Dec '15Published on: 22 Dec '15Published in: Journal of Behavioral Medicine
To test whether binge eating and emotional eating mediate the relationships between self-reported stress, morning cortisol and the homeostatic model of insulin resistance and waist circumference. We also explored the moderators of gender and age. Data were from 249 adults (mean BMI = 26.9 ± 5.1 kg/m(2); mean age = 28.3 ± 8.3 years; 54.2 % male; 69.5 % white) recruited from the community who were enrolled in a cross-sectional study. Participants completed a comprehensive assessment panel of psychological and physiological assessments including a morning blood draw for plasma cortisol. We found negative relationships between stress and morning cortisol (r = -0.15 to -0.21; p < 0.05), and cortisol and the homeostatic model of insulin resistance and waist circumference (r = -0.16, -0.25, respectively; p < 0.05). There was not statistical support for binge eating or emotional eating as mediators and no support for moderated mediation for either gender or age; however, gender moderated several paths in the model. These include the paths between perceived stress and emotional eating (B = 0.009, p < 0.001), perceived stress and binge eating (B = 0.01, p = 0.003), and binge eating and increased HOMA-IR (B = 0.149, p = 0.018), which were higher among females. Among women, perceived stress may be an important target to decrease binge and emotional eating. It remains to be determined what physiological and psychological mechanisms underlie the relationships between stress and metabolic abnormalities.