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Predictors of emotional eating during adolescents' transition to college: does body mass index moderate the association between stress and emotional eating?

Research paper by Shana M SM Wilson, Katherine E KE Darling, Amy J AJ Fahrenkamp, Alexandra L AL D'Auria, Amy F AF Sato

Indexed on: 13 Jan '15Published on: 13 Jan '15Published in: Journal of American college health : J of ACH



Abstract

This study sought to (1) examine perceived stress and resources to cope with stress as predictors of emotional eating during the transition to college and (2) determine whether body mass index (BMI) moderated the emotional eating-stress relationship.Participants were 97 college freshmen (73% female; BMI: M = 25.3 kg/m(2), SD = 5.7 kg/m(2)). Research was conducted in September 2012.Participants completed the Perceived Stress Scale, Emotional Eating Scale, and Eating and Appraisal Due to Emotions and Stress Questionnaire during the first month of college. Height and weight were measured objectively.BMI moderated the relationship between perceived stress and emotional eating. Higher stress predicted greater emotional eating for the lower BMI groups, but not the highest group. Greater resources to cope with stress predicted lower emotional eating.Greater perceived stress and poorer resources to cope with stress may contribute to emotional eating during the transition to college. The relationship between perceived stress and emotional eating may vary by BMI.