Emotional Resilience Blog from The Fear Course

The latest research, realisations and thinking in the world of emotional resilience, anxiety and fear reduction from around the world.

Eating as an emotion regulation strategy

Eating as an emotion regulation strategy

Some research just published by Dr. Angelina Sutin, a psychological scientist and a team of colleagues at the Florida State University College of Medicine in Tallahassee looking into the effects of negative emotional 'hits' on obese people particularly in the form of weight discrimination or weightism. The researchers weighed 1919 individuals in 2006 and again in 2010 and found that those who had suffered from some form of direct weigh discrimination were 3 times more likely to weigh more four years later that people who had not suffered from some form of discrimination.
Such forms of unhealthy or maladaptive emotion regulation strategies are common and include drug taking, self harm, forms or reckless driving, aggression to name a few.

A scan of the eating disorder research reveals a vast array of literature and research all pointing to evidence that many eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa are considered by psychiatrists to me maladaptive emotion regulation strategies.
One such study from King's College London published in 2009 found that when compared to people with healthy eating habits, people with anorexia nervosa had a significantly harder time decoding emotions or emotion recognition (emotional intelligence) and significantly more difficulties with emotion regulation (emotional resilience).

There have been suggestions that eating disorders are more a function of problems with decision making as opposed to maladaptive emotion regulation issues. A study in 2010 from researchers at the University of Montpellier gives evidence that this is not the case and individuals with eating disorders do not display any impairment in decision making.

On the 15th August I will be running a LIVE online seminar called 'How we catch anxiety and fear and what to do about it'. I will be covering some of the latest research and ideas about the 'why' of anxiety and fear. The seminar is FREE but there are only100 places. If you would like to book a place simply leave your details below:

The seminar will be at 6pm UK (BST) (1pm EDT - 10AM PDT - 7PM CEST /SAST - 3AM AEST)

 

References

Guillaume, S. Et Al (2010) Is decision making really impaired in eating disorders? Neuropsychology. 2010 Nov;24(6):808-12. doi: 10.1037/a0019806.

Harrison, A. Et al (2009) Emotion recognition and regulation in anorexia nervosa. Clinical Psychology and psychotherapy 2009 Jul-Aug;16(4):348-56. doi: 10.1002/cpp.628.

Sutin, A.R. et al (2013) I know not to, but I can't help it: Weight gain and changes in impulsivity-related personality traits. Psychological Science July 2013 vol. 24 no. 7 1323-1328. doi:10.1177/0956797612469212

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