Although the phenomenon of eating after experiencing negative emotions is well-known, the function of this behaviour is not, providing the reason why this current study will examine this. Recent studies indicate that people who suppress negative emotions consume larger amounts of food after experiencing negative emotions than people who apply cognitive reappraisal. A possible explanation for this can be found within the ‘limited resource model’. This model indicates that self-control is drawn from a limited resource, depleting it in the process. This current study explores the influence of the “reappraising emotion regulation strategy” and of the “suppressing emotion regulation strategy” on the depletion of this limited resource, as well as investigating the consequences they carry for the functionality of emotional eating. To examine this, 66 women have been instructed to apply one of the emotion regulation strategies mentioned above, while viewing an emotional film fragment. To measure the amount of depletion a Strooptask has been used. The results showed that no significant difference in depletion could be found when comparing all conditions. Moreover the depletion-effect only lasted for 20 minutes regardless of condition, indicating a spontaneous recovery of the ability to exert self-control. This is an important indication that emotional eating does not have a physiological function. Possible explanations and suggestions for follow-up studies will be discussed further
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