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The relationship between mindfulness, emotion regulation, habitual thinking and eating behaviours

Fisher, Naomi Ruth (2014) The relationship between mindfulness, emotion regulation, habitual thinking and eating behaviours. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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Evidence regarding the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) for health-related eating behaviours is emerging. However, the underlying mechanisms are unclear. This thesis presents findings from a series of studies examining the role of two potential mechanisms; extending research into the role of emotion regulation and is the first known research to examine the role of mental habit. A mixed method approach was used to increase understanding about relations between mindfulness (dispositional, experimentally manipulated, and cultivated through practice) and reward motivated eating (RME; uncontrolled and emotional). Chapters one and two provide a review of current literature. Chapter three presents findings from an initial online study in which mediation analyses support the proposition that difficulties in emotion regulation and habitual negative self-thinking are underlying mechanisms in relations between dispositional mindfulness and RME. In addition, participants who engaged in mindfulness meditation reported greater dispositional mindfulness, fewer difficulties in emotion regulation, less habitual negative self-thinking, and uncontrolled or emotional eating. The second study examined mindful induction scripts, a necessary and novel step in clarifying and increasing transparency in the attribution of effects evidenced in experimental settings. The analysis and resultant components informed the development of a Mindful Attention Induction (MAI) used in study three to examine the influence of an MAI on hedonic reactivity to the properties of food. Subjective hunger decreased and fullness increased for the mindfulness group compared to the control group indicating that mindful attention to properties of food can reduce hedonic reactivity, however, the effects were short lived. Importantly, food intake was significantly greater for the control group compared to the mindful group despite, by that point, no subjective differences in craving or appetitive measures. The findings illustrate how a mindful approach cultivated through mindful mediation may influence behavioural change without reliance on translation of intentions into actions. The final study piloted the Mindful Eating Programme, a synthesis of the findings and methods of studies 1-3. Qualitative analyses provides a picture of the process of change, which was often attributed to increased awareness of antecedents to undesired eating tendencies, noticing in the present moment and use of mindfulness practices as a tool to realise change.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2016 15:03
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2021 23:27
DOI or ID number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00004583
Supervisors: Lattimore, Paul and Malinowski, Peter
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4583
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