Expressive suppression and emotional eating in older and younger adults: An exploratory study

Lilach Samuel, Miri Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: A clear gap exists in regard to emotional eating and the effects of affect and expressive suppression on emotional eating among older individuals. The aim was to compare the emotional eating patterns of younger and older individuals and assess the role of expressive suppression in the association between affectivity and emotional eating in each of the age groups. Methods: Participants were 210 individuals recruited by means of a convenience sampling, which intentionally included a wide age range, along with varied socio-economic and education levels. Participants completed the short version of the Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire, The Positive affect (PA) and Negative Affect (NA) Schedule and the Courtauld emotional control scale. Data was analyzed for three age groups – young adults (aged 20–40), middle-aged adults (aged 41–60) and older adults (aged 61–87). Results: Emotional eating was present among all three age groups, but it gradually decreased with age. The use of expressive suppression increased with age. Levels of PA and NA did not differ across the age groups and were not associated with emotional eating, but expressive suppression predicted higher emotional eating. The association between expressive suppression and emotional eating was moderated by age: with a stronger association for the younger group, a moderate association for the middle-aged group and no association for the older adults. Conclusions: Emotional eating is present among older adults, although in lower intensity than younger individuals, and should be identified and treated by health and mental health practitioners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-131
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018


  • Affect
  • Emotional eating
  • Expressive suppression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Aging
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Expressive suppression and emotional eating in older and younger adults: An exploratory study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this