Written Emotional Expression: Effects on Weight Loss and Maintenance

Written Emotional Expression: Effects on Weight Loss and Maintenance

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The consequences of the current obesity epidemic are taking a serious toll on the health and the economics of our society. The prevention and treatment of obesity remain a challenge for researchers and society. Over the past 15-20 years behavioral treatments have been developed which have been successful in helping people lose weight, but individuals struggle to maintain this weight loss. Several studies provide evidence that emotional and psychological factors may play an important role in weight loss and maintenance. However, most behavioral treatment approaches do not adequately address the role of emotional factors. Interventions specifically designed to help individuals who are overweight or obese better cope with emotional distress may attenuate the negative effects of distress on weight loss and maintenance through improved emotional self-regulatory processes. This study examined the effects of expressive writing on weight regain, stress, and emotional eating among individuals who have recently lost weight. Men and women (N = 64) who recently lost weight were recruited and randomized to either an emotional expressive (n = 31) or to a placebo control writing intervention ( n = 33). Baseline assessments were completed followed by writing sessions that took place once weekly across four consecutive weeks. Follow-up assessments of weight, stress and emotional eating were completed at the end of the final writing session, and again at 1 and 3 months. Results from this study indicated that there was no support for expressive writing to impact the rate of weight regain among individuals who have recently lost weight. However, there was partial support for expressive writing to decrease stress levels. No support was found, however, for expressive writing to decrease emotional eating. The results from this study provide poor support for the beneficial effects of written emotional disclosure on buffering weight regain and decreasing emotional eating following weight loss treatment. There is, however, minimal evidence that expressive writing may produce favorable effects on stress levels in individuals who are attempting to maintain weight loss. Implications of these findings and ideas for future research to improve weight loss and maintenance outcomes are discussed.Establishing a universally agreed upon definition of stress remains a challenge given the varying opinions concerning the ... Elliott and Eisdorfer (1982) outline four types of stressors based on duration and chronicity: (1) acute, time-limited;anbsp;...

Title:Written Emotional Expression: Effects on Weight Loss and Maintenance
Author: Jill Renee Hockemeyer
Publisher:ProQuest - 2007

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