An exploratory study of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for emotional eating

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry; Department of Medicine, Center for Mindfulness; School of Medicine; Senior Scholars Program

Publication Date


Document Type



Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


Emotional eating is an important predictor of weight loss and weight regain after weight loss. This two part study's primary aim was to explore changes in emotional eating in a general population of individuals taking the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, with a secondary aim to explore whether changes in mindfulness predicted changes in emotional eating. Self-reported survey data exploring these questions were collected before and after the intervention for two sequential studies (Study 1 and Study 2). While there were no control groups for either study, in both studies emotional eating scores following the MBSR were significantly lower than scores prior to taking the MBSR (p < 0.001; p < 0.001) In Study 2, changes in mindfulness were correlated with changes in emotional eating (r = 0.317, p = 0.004). These results suggest that MBSR may be an effective intervention for emotional eating, and that further research is warranted to examine effects on weight loss and maintenance.


Behavior change, Mindfulness, Weight loss

DOI of Published Version



Appetite. 2017 Feb 1;109:124-130. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2016.11.029. Epub 2016 Nov 24. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title



Emily Levoy participated in this study as a medical student in the Senior Scholars research program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID