What do emotional eaters really need? qualitative results in a vignette study on coaching strategies

Aranka Dol, Christina Bode, Hugo Velthuijsen, Tatjana van Strien, Lisette van Gemert

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterAcademic

Abstract

Background:
More than 40% of the obese population suffer from emotional eating behaviour. They give in to overeating, because they lack effective coping strategies for negative emotions. Our studies explored the opportunities for helping emotional eaters with a virtual coach. Therefore the objective of this study was to identify preferences for coaching strategies for emotional eaters applicable in a personal virtual coach environment. Three different coaching strategies were tested: a validating, a focus-on-change, and a dialectical.

Methods:
Instruments: Vignettes, reflecting two most relevant situations for emotional eaters: 1. having food cravings experiencing negative emotions. 2. having given into overeating experiencing feelings of low self-esteem; DEBQ.
Applied Design: 2 situations x 3 coaching strategies.
Participants: 71 female emotional eaters (age mean 44, range 19-70) with high scores on the DEBQ (mean 3,6) with eventual overweight (mean BMI 30,2, range 18-45); recruited via dietist practices), were randomly assigned to the conditions and were asked how they would encounter and react to the presented coaching strategies. Data is obtained by thematic analyses.

Findings:
Qualitative results showed that emotional eaters clearly preferred dialectical coaching in both conditions. Although this preference is expressed for craving and overeating situations, the other coaching strategies were differently evaluated for both conditions. Our study showed emotional eaters have not only differences in preferences for coaching strategies, they are in different stages of knowledge about emotion regulation.

Discussion:
Design of the virtual coach should be based on integration of the validation and focus-on-change into dialectical coaching strategies as preferred by emotional eaters and has to tailor to the different stages of self-knowledge about emotion regulation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 24 Jan 2019
Event8th Annual ARPH Conference: Association for Researchers in Psychology and Health - Hotel Zuiderduin, Egmond aan Zee, Netherlands
Duration: 24 Jan 201925 Jan 2019
http://arphconference.nl/

Conference

Conference8th Annual ARPH Conference
Abbreviated titleARPH Conference
CountryNetherlands
CityEgmond aan Zee
Period24/01/1925/01/19
Internet address

Keywords

  • eating disorders
  • emotions

Cite this

Dol, A., Bode, C., Velthuijsen, H., van Strien, T., & van Gemert, L. (2019). What do emotional eaters really need? qualitative results in a vignette study on coaching strategies. Poster session presented at 8th Annual ARPH Conference, Egmond aan Zee, Netherlands.