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27-05-2019 | ORIGINAL PAPER Open Access

Mindful Awareness or Self-Regulation in Eating: an Investigation into the Underlying Dimensions of Mindful Eating

Nóra Román, Róbert Urbán
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Mindful eating has been suggested to contribute a healthier relationship to food. However, its conceptualization and operationalization need further investigation. Our aim was to evaluate the psychometric properties of the Hungarian version of the Mindful Eating Questionnaire (MEQ).


A cross-sectional survey study including a sample of Hungarian university students (N = 323) was conducted to unveil the construct validity of the MEQ.


The results of the confirmatory factor analysis revealed an inadequate fit to the original model. Applying exploratory factor analysis (EFA) confirmed the presence of the original five factors with minor deviations from the original structure. Correlation coefficients between factors ranged from − 0.36 to 0.52. As a further step, principal component analysis of the primary factors uncovered two second-order components, self-regulation, and awareness. A multivariate regression analysis with structural equation modeling revealed that higher levels of self-regulation in eating were positively related to trait mindfulness (β = 0.13, p < 0.05) and negatively related to uncontrolled eating (β = − 0.20, p < 0.05), emotional eating (β = − 0.40, p < 0.05), and meditation practice (β = − 0.12, p < 0.05). In turn, awareness was related to lower body mass index (β = − 0.20, p < 0.05) and higher levels of emotional eating (β = 0.20, p < 0.05).


These results suggest inadequate coherence of the subscales and an unclear locus of mindful eating within the nomological network of related constructs. Our study contributes to the progress in the measurement of mindful eating by highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the MEQ. The outcome of the construct validation testing implies the need for further exploration of mindful eating.

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