A Brief Mindful Eating Mobile-Health Intervention Targeting Maladaptive Overeating Behaviors in a Community Sample Restricted; Files & ToC

Ozbardakci, Elise (Spring 2022)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/hm50tt05r?locale=en


Mindful eating interventions are a promising non-dieting approach for promoting adaptive eating and reducing maladaptive eating styles. Mindfulness interventions have been delivered via mobile health (mHealth) apps, but few have been evaluated as stand-alone, self-paced, interventions. The present study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness and acceptability of a 3-week, self-guided mindful eating intervention using an updated version of the previously evaluated Mindful Eating Coach-2 (MEC-2) app, designed to promote an adaptive (i.e., intuitive) eating style. Two mindfulness constructs, decentering and mindful eating, were evaluated as mediators of intervention effects on reducing maladaptive eating. A national sample of adults (N=123) reporting concerns with overeating were recruited (mean age=31.9 years; mean BMI=27.51 kg/m2). After 3-weeks of self-guided use, individuals randomized to use the app (n=62) reported significantly greater intuitive eating and significantly lower overeating than the waitlist control group (n=61). App use significantly reduced emotional eating for those reporting higher levels at baseline but did not significantly reduce external eating compared to waitlist. Simple mediation analyses revealed intervention effects on reducing overeating and emotional eating were fully mediated by decentering but not by mindful eating. Exploratory serial mediation analyses indicated that decentering and mindful eating may sequentially mediate intervention effects on maladaptive eating, but these effects were not powerful enough to be significant. Participants generally reported the app was acceptable and helpful. Dropout rate was low for a self-guided mHealth intervention. Overall, results demonstrate that the app was acceptable, and that 3-weeks of self-guided use was effective in improving intuitive eating, reducing overeating, and in reducing emotional eating for those reporting higher levels at baseline. These results support the utility of the app for adults concerned with moderate levels of overeating and suggest that mindful eating interventions may be working through changes in a broader mindfulness construct, decentering. Exploratory analysis demonstrated that baseline executive dysfunction (poorer executive function) was significantly associated with greater maladaptive eating, lower intuitive eating, and lower decentering across intervention timepoints. Executive dysfunction may be a promising variable to explore in future mindful eating interventions.  

Key Words: mHealth, self-monitoring, mindful eating, appetite, decentering.

Table of Contents

This table of contents is under embargo until 26 May 2028

About this Dissertation

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
Subfield / Discipline
  • English
Research Field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified Preview image embargoed

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files