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01-10-2013 | Original Article | Uitgave 5/2013

Cognitive Therapy and Research 5/2013

The Role of Anxiety Sensitivity and Eating Expectancy in Maladaptive Eating Behavior

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 5/2013
Bridget A. Hearon, Angela C. Utschig, Jasper A. J. Smits, Samantha J. Moshier, Michael W. Otto


Research has shown that anxiety sensitivity (AS), or the fear of somatic arousal, predicts distress and maladaptive coping in a range of psychiatric conditions. More recently, the role of AS has been examined in pathological eating. In the current investigation, a two-study design was employed to examine the role of AS and eating expectancies in both self-reported and actual eating behavior. For Study 1, 42 overweight/obese participants completed questionnaires assessing AS, as well as eating behaviors and attitudes. In Study 2, 60 participants representing all weight ranges completed the same questionnaire battery and underwent a negative mood induction task followed by food exposure. Results of this study revealed a 3-way interaction between Anxiety Sensitivity Index-mental concerns subscale, Eating Expectancy Inventory—eating leads to feeling out of control subscale, and BMI suggesting that those elevated on all 3 constructs consumed the most calories. Results are discussed in relation to better understanding the role of AS and eating expectancy and its utility in identifying a subset of overweight/obese individuals at risk for maladaptive eating behavior.

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