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Int J Eat Disord. 1993 Apr;13(3):289-95.

Emotion and eating in obesity? A critical analysis.

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Obesity Research Center, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, St. Luke's Hospital, New York, NY 10025.


Psychosomatic theories hold that the obese abnormally increase eating in response to emotional distress. Empirical support for this assertion has come mainly from self-report studies. A review of the literature for methodological rigor reveals that many studies previously considered supportive are substantially flawed with regard to control groups, failure to control Type-I error rate, and the possibility of confounding of social desirability and other response sets with self-reports of emotional eating. Five alternative conceptualization of the obesity-emotional eating association are presented along with suggested research which would elucidate the nature of this frequently reported connection.

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