Thomas Le

By William & Mary

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Feed Your Feelings: Preventing Disordered Eating through Emotion Regulation

Eating disorders have been shown to be the most lethal of all mental illnesses. Those suffering from eating disorders tend to lack healthful ways to cope with their emotions. Thus, when these individuals experience strong negative emotions, they may resort to maladaptive eating behaviors – such as binging and purging, or excessive dietary restraint – to deal with their feelings, leading to a variety of negative health consequences. For my honors thesis, I will examine maladaptive eating behaviors such as excessive dieting and emotional eating, practices that have been shown to lead to disordered eating.

My research project will experimentally test the ways in which different emotion regulation strategies affect restrained and emotional eaters’ consumption of food. Emotion regulation refers to the ways in which people cope with their emotions. Through this study, I will examine how different emotion regulation strategies work to either help or hurt individuals’ abilities to handle their emotions and thus how they then choose to eat or not eat. This project will shed light on the underlying mechanisms that contribute to eating disorders and maladaptive eating behavior overall, so we can work to prevent these life-threatening mental illnesses.

All William & Mary Honors Fellowships fundraising supports the Charles Center Honors Fellowships Fund. Direct support for individual undergraduate research projects is distributed by the Roy R. Charles Center for Academic Excellence. To learn more about Honors Fellowships, please visit our About page. If you have questions, please visit our FAQ page.

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