Emotional Openness in Overweight and Normal-Weight Adolescents

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Abstract.Obesity is common among adolescents and is associated with a number of medical complications. As maladaptive emotional processing is assumed to influence obesity, this research investigated emotional openness (EO), a general model of emotional processing, in normal-weight versus overweight adolescents, with consideration of gender differences. The goal was to determine whether a particular EO profile is characteristic of overweight adolescents. This research also explored the psychometric characteristics of the Dimensions of Openness to Emotions Questionnaire (DOE-20), a comprehensive multifactorial instrument that assesses emotional processing. The DOE-20 and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) short form were completed by 160 adolescents (mean age: 14.36 ± 0.61 years), 39 of which were overweight. A multivariate analysis of variance showed no difference with respect to overweight status, but boys had a better ability to recognize and regulate emotions than girls. The original five-factor structure of the DOE-20 was confirmed by confirmatory factor analysis, although internal consistency was modest. Because this research did not replicate the EO profile previously found in obese adults, we discuss the adequacy of the DOE-20 to evaluate EO in adolescents as well as the ability of the construct of EO to assess emotional processing in obesity. Further research should examine the links between EO, problematic eating behaviors, and obesity.

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