Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Diana Rancourt, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jonathan Rottenberg, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas Brandon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kristen Salomon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Brent Small, Ph.D.


affect, eating behaviors, experimental, food consumption


Emotional eating is a commonly described phenomenon reported by individuals across the weight spectrum. Not only does existing evidence suggest it is not an effective emotion regulation strategy, but emotional eating is also associated with difficulty losing weight during weight loss interventions and other negative health outcomes. The majority of existing work in the area of emotional eating has focused on the broad dimensions of negative and positive affect. Yet, there are data suggesting that different emotions appear to produce different changes in eating behaviors, suggesting the importance of investigating the influence of discrete emotions on eating. The lack of understanding regarding eating in response to boredom in particular, is a major gap in the current literature. Moreover, little is known about individual characteristics that could make some individuals more vulnerable to “bored eating.” Given data suggesting interoception as central to other forms of dysregulated eating, as well as its theoretical relevance, the current study focused on interoceptive ability as a vulnerability factor for bored eating. Utilizing an experimental design, Study 1 examined boredom as a trigger of snacking behaviors in a laboratory setting. Due to COVID-19, data collection was terminated early, but preliminary results provided tentative support for a causal role of boredom in food consumption. Study 2 was a cross-sectional, correlational extension of Study 1. Consistent with predictions, Study 2 found that boredom proneness was a significant predictor of emotional eating, even when accounting for the broad dimensions of negative and positive affect. Inconsistent with hypotheses, the association between boredom proneness and emotional eating was not moderated by interoception. Findings have implications for the prevention and treatment of emotional eating.