Avoidant coping moderates the relationship between stress and depressive emotional eating in adolescents

  • Danielle YoungEmail author
  • Christine A. Limbers
Original Article



Studies with adults support an association between emotional eating and avoidant and emotion-focused coping styles. While an avoidant coping style has been identified as a risk-factor for eating disorders in adolescents, no studies to date have specifically examined the relationship between coping styles and emotional eating in this population. The purpose of the present study was to assess whether coping styles moderate the relationship between perceived stress and emotional eating in adolescents.


Two hundred and seventy-seven middle school students (mean age = 13.26 years; SD = 0.49) completed the Emotional Eating Scale for Children and Adolescents, the Perceived Stress Scale, the Children’s Coping Strategies Checklist, and a brief demographic survey. Four separate multiple linear regression analyses were conducted to determine the interactive effects of perceived stress and coping styles on emotional eating.


The interaction between perceived stress and an avoidant coping style accounted for a significant amount of variance in the Emotional Eating Depression subscale score (EES-C-DEP); at higher levels of perceived stress, an avoidant coping style increased an adolescent’s propensity for depressive emotional eating.


The present findings provide preliminary support for targeting an avoidant coping style in preventative interventions, particularly for youth that have the propensity to overeat in response to feelings of depression.


Emotional eating Coping Adolescents 


Compliance with ethical standard

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Infomed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology and NeuroscienceBaylor UniversityWacoUSA

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