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Eat Behav. 2017 Aug;26:45-49. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2016.12.012. Epub 2017 Jan 3.

Positive perfectionism, negative perfectionism, and emotional eating: The mediating role of stress.

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School of Business, Jiangnan University, 1800 Lihu Avenue, Wuxi, Jiangsu 214122, China. Electronic address:
School of Management, Shanghai University, 99 Shangda Road, Shanghai 200444, China. Electronic address:


The current study examines the different impacts of positive perfectionism and negative perfectionism on individuals' emotional eating, as well as stress as the proposed underlying mediator that explains the abovementioned relationships. Overall, 386 adults in China reported their levels of positive perfectionism, negative perfectionism, perceived stress, and emotional eating behaviors. Results demonstrate that positive perfectionism is negatively associated with emotional eating, while negative perfectionism is positively associated with emotional eating. In addition, stress mediates the relationship between perfectionism and emotional eating. Specifically, positive perfectionism is indirectly related to emotional eating through the mediation of stress, whereas negative perfectionism is related to emotional eating directly and indirectly through the mediation of stress. Findings of the current study indicate that practitioners working with individuals who suffer from emotional eating problems should focus on ways to reduce negative perfectionism while finding approaches that enhance positive perfectionism. With this approach, individuals would experience less stress and, therefore, would be less likely to be involved in emotional eating.


Emotional eating; Negative perfectionism; Positive perfectionism; Stress

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