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Exploring the role of emotional intelligence on disorder eating psychopathology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Una Marie Foye, Diane Hazlett, Pauline Irving

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-306
Number of pages22
JournalEating And Weight Disorders-Studies On Anorexia Bulimia And Obesity
Issue number2
Early online date19 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


King's Authors


This study aims to explore the role of Emotional Intelligence (EI) and specific facets that may underpin the aetiology of disordered eating attitudes and behaviours, as a means to understand what aspects of these deficits to target within treatments.

Participants were recruited from the UK and Ireland. Among the sample of 355 participants, 84% were women and 16% were men. Regarding age, 59% were between 18 and 29, 30% were between 30 and 49, and 11% were 50 or older. Using a cross-sectional design, participants completed the Schutte Self-Report Emotional Intelligence Test to measure levels of trait EI and The Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) as a measure of eating disorder risk and the presence of disordered eating attitudes.

EAT-26 scores were negatively correlated with total EI scores and with the following EI subscales: appraisal of own emotions, regulation of emotions, utilisation of emotions, and optimism. Also, compared to those without an eating disorder history, participants who reported having had an eating disorder had significantly lower total EI scores and lower scores on four EI subscales: appraisal of others emotions, appraisal of own emotions, regulation of emotions, and optimism.

Considering these findings, EI (especially appraisal of own emotions, regulation of emotions, and optimism) may need to be addressed by interventions and treatments for eating disorders.

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