The association of emotion regulation with lifestyle behaviors in inner-city adolescents

Carmen R. Isasi, Natania W. Ostrovsky, Thomas A. Wills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Purpose: Recent research suggests a role of cognitive self-regulation skills on obesity and lifestyle behaviors. However, very little is known about the role of emotion regulation. This study examined the association of emotion regulation with lifestyle behaviors and examined a mediational model testing the effects of emotion regulation through self-efficacy and depressive symptoms. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted with 602 adolescents (mean age 12.7. years) from 4 public schools in the Bronx, NY. The sample was 58% female, predominantly Hispanic (74%) and US born (81%). Emotion regulation was assessed by 3 indicators and defined as a latent variable. Dependent variables included fruit/vegetable intake, snack/junk food intake, frequency of physical activity, and time spent in sedentary behaviors. Structural equation modeling examined the association of emotion regulation with lifestyle behaviors, with self-efficacy and depressive symptoms defined as potential mediators. Results: The analyses showed that there was a positive association of emotion regulation with higher intake of fruits/vegetable and greater physical activity, which was mediated by self-efficacy. Emotion regulation was related to snack/junk food intake and sedentary behavior, and the structural equation model indicated pathways through an inverse relation to depressive symptoms, but these pathways were only observed in adolescent girls and not boys. Conclusions: These findings indicate that the ability to regulate emotions among adolescents has a role in weight-related behaviors. Future studies may need to explore the relation of other dimensions of emotion to positive health behaviors and study aspects of emotion regulation that may be more relevant for boys.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)518-521
Number of pages4
JournalEating Behaviors
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Adolescents
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Emotion regulation
  • Lifestyle behaviors
  • Self-efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'The association of emotion regulation with lifestyle behaviors in inner-city adolescents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this