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In this study, we explored whether the relation between affect and overeating – observed previously in individualistic cultures – would generalize to a collectivistic culture where emotion display rules differ. Focusing on a Thai population, we investigated whether: (i) dietary disinhibition may mediate the relationship between affect and overeating behavior, and whether (ii) emotion regulation would moderate these effects. To this end, 298 participants (aged 18-24 years) were recruited from universities in the Bangkok metropolitan region. All participants were asked to complete pen-and-paper measures of: affect, emotion regulation, dietary disinhibition, and overeating behaviors. Using a mediated-moderation analysis, we found that only negative – but not positive – affect had a direct effect on overeating behavior. This relation was mediated by participants’ dietary disinhibition. Finally, emotion regulation moderated the relationship between negative affect, disinhibition, and overeating behavior. Our findings suggest that even in collectivistic cultures, the ability to regulate emotions still serves as a protective factor against excessive food intake. These findings have implications for the development of obesity interventions inn cross-cultural settings.
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