Factors associated with emotional eating in female college students

Öztürk M. E., Yılmaz H. Ö., TOKAÇ ER N., DOĞAN G., Meriç Ç. S., YABANCI AYHAN N.

Nutrition and Food Science, 2024 (ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1108/nfs-10-2023-0233
  • Journal Name: Nutrition and Food Science
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aerospace Database, Agricultural & Environmental Science Database, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), CAB Abstracts, Communication Abstracts, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, Hospitality & Tourism Complete, Hospitality & Tourism Index, INSPEC, Metadex, Veterinary Science Database, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: Anthropometric measurements, College students, Eating habits, Emotional eating, Obesity
  • Lokman Hekim University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose: Emotions affect food intake and food choice. Therefore, this paper aims to investigate the relationship between sociodemographic factors, eating habits and anthropometric measurements and negative and positive emotional eating. Design/methodology/approach: This cross-sectional study was conducted with 343 female college students 18–24 years of age. Data were collected using the Emotional Appetite Questionnaire (EMAQ). Anthropometric measurements were obtained (height, weight, triceps skinfold thickness, neck, mid-upper arm, waist and hip circumference). Sociodemographic factors and lifestyle and eating habits were questioned. Generalized linear models were used to identify each EMAQ score. Findings: While high body mass index (BMI) was associated with high negative emotional eating scores, low BMI was related to high positive emotional/situation eating scores (p < 0.01). There was no relationship between waist circumferences (p = 0.09), triceps skinfold thickness (p = 0.09) and negative emotional eating. Participants consuming vegetables and fruit = 5 portions/day had higher negative emotional eating scores, regardless of BMI (p = 0.04). Smokers (p < 0.01) and participants doing regular physical activity (p = 0.02) had lower positive emotional eating scores. Research limitations/implications: Negative emotional eating was related to higher BMI but not adiposity. Active female participants were less likely to eat in response to positive emotions. Originality/value: To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is one of the first studies examining positive emotion scores from many aspects. The authors also investigated the association between emotional eating and anthropometric measurements by using different methods, including neck and mid-upper arm circumference and triceps skinfold thickness.