Main content area

Perceived maternal care is associated with emotional eating in young adults

Ergang, Bárbara Cristina, Molle, Roberta Dalle, Reis, Roberta Sena, Rodrigues, Danitsa Marcos, Mucellini, Amanda Brondani, Toazza, Rudinéia, Cunha, Ana Carla de Araújo, Silveira, Patrícia Pelufo, Manfro, Gisele Gus, Machado, Tania Diniz
Physiology & behavior 2019 v.201 pp. 91-94
adolescence, adolescents, anxiety, childhood, children, eating disorders, fearfulness, gender, infancy, ingestion, models, overeating, questionnaires, regression analysis, young adults
Early life adversity, including the perception of poor quality of maternal care, is associated with long-term metabolic and psychosocial consequences. The negative quality of mother/child relationship is associated with emotional overeating in young children, which is defined by eating in response to emotional arousal states such as fear, anger or anxiety. However, it is not known if this association persists through adolescence. Therefore, we aimed at verifying if maternal care during infancy can influence emotional eating in young adults.Seventy-five adolescents, residents of Porto Alegre, who participated in the PROTAIA Program (anxiety disorder in childhood and adolescence program), answered the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI – assessment of perceived maternal care), and the Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire (DEBQ). Regression analysis models were built to predict Emotional Eating, a domain of the DEBQ, using maternal care, gender, and anxiety as independent variables.The model was statistically significant when adjusted for potential confounders (r2 = 0.272; p < 0.0001). Emotional eating was significantly predicted by levels of maternal care, anxiety and gender (beta = −0.316; p = 0.006).The results demonstrated a negative association between the quality of maternal care and emotional eating in young adults, suggesting that the early environment could be involved on the development of eating disorders or on the differential eating behavior in adolescents with emotional disorders.