Personality traits and eating behavior in the obese: poor self-control in emotional and external eating but personality assets in restrained eating. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Personality traits can give a fuller understanding for eating behaviors in obesity. The objective was to describe eating behavior (Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire) in terms of the Big Five personality traits (NEO Personality Inventory-Revised) in obesity patients (n=442). Emotional eating was strongly positively associated to Neuroticism, in particular impulsiveness and depression, and further linked to lower Conscientiousness mainly seen in lower self-discipline, and lower Extraversion. External eating was likewise mainly associated to the facets impulsiveness and lower self-discipline. Restrained eating was on the other hand related to higher Conscientiousness, Extraversion and Openness, and lower Neuroticism. These results imply that poor self-control seen in impulsiveness and lower self-discipline was most important for eating due to negative emotions as well as in response to external food stimuli, suggesting that the inhibition of eating and difficulties to govern ones behavior are major aspects of these eating behaviors. Attempts to control food intake and body weight seen in restrained eating were associated with more character strengths and ambitions, and also a more outgoing personality style with more stable emotions.

published proceedings

  • Eat Behav

altmetric score

  • 15.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Elfhag, K., & Morey, L. C

citation count

  • 172

complete list of authors

  • Elfhag, Kristina||Morey, Lesley C

publication date

  • November 2007