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Article

Parent–Infant Attachment Insecurity and Emotional Eating in Adolescence: Mediation through Emotion Suppression and Alexithymia

1
Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University, 6525 XZ Nijmegen, The Netherlands
2
Donders Institute, Radboudumc, 6525 GA Nijmegen, The Netherlands
3
Department of Personality, Evaluation, and Psychological Treatments, University of Valencia, 46010 València, Spain
4
CIBER Fisiopatología Obesidad y Nutrición (CIBEROBN), Instituto Carlos III, 28029 Madrid, Spain
5
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Fernando Fernandez-Aranda
Nutrients 2021, 13(5), 1662; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13051662
Received: 17 March 2021 / Revised: 27 April 2021 / Accepted: 29 April 2021 / Published: 14 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weight Outcomes of Kids: What Can Parents Do?)
Emotional eating (EE), the propensity to eat in response to emotions, is thought to have its origins in the early parent–infant relationship. This study tested the hypothesis that infant attachment insecurity results in EE in adolescence through the increased use of the emotion regulation strategy suppression of emotions and subsequent alexithymia. At the age of 15 months, parent–infant attachment security (n = 129) was observed with two abbreviated attachment measures: the shortened strange situation procedure (SSSP), and the shortened attachment Q-set (S-AQS). At the age of 12 years, children completed self-report questionnaires to assess the suppression of emotions, alexithymia, and EE. At the age of 16 years, EE was measured again. The mediation models indicated that lower parent–infant attachment security predicted increased use of suppression of emotions, which was related to increased alexithymia, and in turn more EE at the age of 12 years. These results were similar and significant for both attachment measures, and also (marginal) significant with EE at the age of 16 years as an outcome. Lastly, when parental caregiving quality was included, the models with the SSSP as predictor remained significant, but the models with the S-AQS became insignificant. These results indicated that to a certain extent, infant attachment security could predict adolescent EE above and beyond parental caregiving quality. View Full-Text
Keywords: parent–child attachment; strange situation procedure; attachment Q-set; emotional eating; emotion suppression; alexithymia parent–child attachment; strange situation procedure; attachment Q-set; emotional eating; emotion suppression; alexithymia
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MDPI and ACS Style

Beijers, R.; Miragall, M.; van den Berg, Y.; Konttinen, H.; van Strien, T. Parent–Infant Attachment Insecurity and Emotional Eating in Adolescence: Mediation through Emotion Suppression and Alexithymia. Nutrients 2021, 13, 1662. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13051662

AMA Style

Beijers R, Miragall M, van den Berg Y, Konttinen H, van Strien T. Parent–Infant Attachment Insecurity and Emotional Eating in Adolescence: Mediation through Emotion Suppression and Alexithymia. Nutrients. 2021; 13(5):1662. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13051662

Chicago/Turabian Style

Beijers, Roseriet, Marta Miragall, Yvonne van den Berg, Hanna Konttinen, and Tatjana van Strien. 2021. "Parent–Infant Attachment Insecurity and Emotional Eating in Adolescence: Mediation through Emotion Suppression and Alexithymia" Nutrients 13, no. 5: 1662. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13051662

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