Personality and Cognitive Abilities: Predictors of Restrained, Uncontrolled and Emotional Eating Behaviours?
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Abstract The psychology of eating behaviour merits more attention, due to the increasing prevalence of eating disorders, obesity and other eating related issues. There is a need for a more grounded understanding of the behavioural, emotional and cognitive aspects of dietary habits. Aim: To examine the relationship between personality, cognitive abilities and eating behaviours; Restrained Eating (RE), Uncontrolled Eating (UE) and Emotional Eating (EE). This was based on a series of previous studies that examined the factors separately but no known previous research had studied all three together. Design: A cross-sectional, within-subjects design was used. Methods: 69 participants (M = 20, F = 49) with a mean age of 20.9 years (SD = 1.1 years), completed the International Personality Item Pool, the Three Factor Eating Questionnaire – Revised 18 Item version, Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices and the Mill Hill Vocabulary Scale. Results: A series of multiple linear regressions revealed a non-significant interaction was observed between each eating behaviour, cognitive ability and personality. RE was negatively correlated with Emotional Stability (ES), UE was negatively correlated with Conscientiousness (C) and EE was negatively related to ES. Conclusions: Personality is an influential factor on individual eating behaviour. Further research is required to assess the possible interaction effect between cognitive abilities, personality and eating behaviour.