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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Evaluating Mental Health Indicators, Perceived Stress, Anxiety, Depressive Symptoms and Their Relationship with Emotional Eating Scores Among Latina and African American Girls
by Zeagler, Gabriela E., M.S., California State University, Long Beach, 2020, 66; 27961975
Abstract (Summary)

Mental health is a major area of interest in the United States and the number of those suffering from a mental illness at increasingly younger ages has only increased over time. While younger populations are falling victim to mental diseases, research supports the idea that adult women, especially low-income women, experience stress-related eating more often than men. Although there are several ways to study mental status, these mental health indicators: perceived stress, anxiety, depressive symptoms and emotional eating can be measured among children using the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), the Self-rating Anxiety Scale (SAS), the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale, and the Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire for Children (DEBQ-C). Data from a previous study (TRA) was utilized to evaluate these three mental health indictors and emotional eating. The 79 participants included both Hispanic and African American females, averaging 9.3y. A multiple regression model, using the forced entry method, was used to predict the influence of perceived stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms on the emotional eating score. Univariate linear analysis was used to assess each independent variable separately and their relationships with emotional eating scores. Univariate analyses revealed perceived stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms to each exhibit a statistically significant relationship with emotional eating scores on their own. However, while the multivariate regression model, including parents’ income, age in months, and ethnicity, explained 35% of the variance in emotional eating score, trait anxiety emerged as the only factor significantly contributing to the prediction of emotional eating. This study supports the notion that emotions, and particularly anxiety, can strongly relate to the eating behaviors of young girls, as young as 8y. In future research, it would be valuable to further explore initiators of anxiety in preadolescent girls, seeing as it presented as the strongest predictor among the three mental health indicators. In addition, potential psychological and/or educational interventions may benefit young girls suffering from the consequences of negative eating behaviors.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Barrack, Michelle
Commitee: Blaine, Rachel, Frank, Gail
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Family and Consumer Sciences
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 82/4(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Nutrition, Mental health, Hispanic American studies
Keywords: Anxiety, Depression, Eating, Emotional, Girls, Stress
Publication Number: 27961975
ISBN: 9798684688850
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