Date of Graduation

Spring 2013


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

Brooke Whisenhunt


emotional eating, alexithymia, body dissatisfaction, impulsivity, neuroticism, depression, eating disorders

Subject Categories



Emotional eating is a type of pathological eating behavior that involves eating in response to negative affective states. The purpose of the current project was to evaluate a proposed model of individual characteristics that are hypothesized to predict emotional eating in a nonclinical sample of undergraduate women. The chosen constructs include body dissatisfaction, neuroticism, depression, impulsivity, alexithymia, and distress tolerance. It was hypothesized that body dissatisfaction, neuroticism, depression, impulsivity, and distress tolerance would be directly associated with emotional eating Based on previous research, alexithymia was predicted to be indirectly related to emotional eating. Using structural equation modeling, only 3 of the 6 variables (body dissatisfaction, depression, and distress tolerance) served as significant predictors of emotional eating. The final model fit the data marginally well with approximately 36% of the variance in emotional eating being explained by the three constructs. These results suggest that individuals with high levels of body dissatisfaction, depression, and distress intolerance will engage in more emotional eating than those who are lower on these dimensions.


© Eileen Nicole Quinn

Campus Only