Eating styles in the morbidly obese: restraint eating, but not emotional and external eating, predicts dietary behaviour

Type Article

Journal Article


A. Brogan; D. Hevey

Year of publication



Psychol Health








OBJECTIVES: The research explored (1) the relationships between self-reported eating style (restraint, emotional and external eating) and dietary intake and (2) emotional eater status as a moderator of food intake when emotional, in a morbidly obese population. DESIGN: A sample of 57 obese participants (BMI: M = 51.84, SD = 8.66) completed a five-day food diary together with a reflective diary, which assessed eating style and positive and negative affect daily. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: A dietician-scored food pyramid analysis of intake. RESULTS: Restraint eating was the only predictor (negative) of overall food intake and the variable most strongly associated with the consumption of top-shelf foods. Emotional and external eating were unrelated to food intake. Emotional eater status did not moderate food intake in response to positive and negative mood states. CONCLUSION: The findings indicated largely analogous relationships between eating style and dietary intake in this obese sample compared with previous results from healthy populations. The lack of predictive validity for emotional eating scales (when emotional) raises questions over people's ability to adequately assess their eating style and consequently, the overall validity of emotional eater scales.