Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Amy Gorin, PhD; Diane Quinn, PhD

Field of Study



Master of Arts

Open Access

Open Access


Objectives: Poor eating behaviors (EB) and food cravings (FC) represent risk factors for obesity and related outcomes. Mindfulness and self-compassion (SC) have been individually linked to healthful EB in prior research, representing salient intervention targets. While conceptualized as having health behavioral self-regulatory benefits, no research has examined these variables’ differential contributions to EB and FC.

Method: Participants were 283 university undergraduates (152 females; m. age = 19.1 + 1.6; m. BMI = 23.7 + 4.2 kg/m2). Multiple regression analyses in women (W) and men (M) assessed how validated measures of mindfulness and SC were associated with Fruit/Vegetable intake (FV), Emotional Eating (EE), Uncontrolled Eating (UE), Restrained Eating (RE), and FC, after controlling for distress and BMI in Step 1. In Model 1, mindfulness was entered in Step 2, and SC in Step 3; the order was reversed in Model 2.

Results: Mindfulness significantly predicted FV and FC in men, and EE/UE in both genders. Results for SC differed by Model and gender. Neither construct predicted RE. Overall, mindfulness emerged a stronger predictor of eating behaviors among M than W. While the pattern of results was mixed among W by model, SC robustly and consistently predicted EE.

Conclusion: These results partially replicate the previously observed relationship of mindfulness to EE, UE, and FV, and generate speculation that mindfulness may be particularly helpful for fostering healthful EB among M, whereas SC training may be prove a salient target of intervention for W high in EE

Major Advisor

Crystal Park, PhD