Investigating Emotions and Mood Induction Procedure Methodology in Individuals with Eating Difficulties

  • Nicola Burke

Student thesis: Doctor of Clinical Psychology


This thesis has been prepared in paper-based format and includes three papers consisting of 1) a literature review 2) an empirical study and 3) a personal and critical reflection on the research process.The literature review in Paper One systematically investigated research utilising mood induction procedures (MIPs) in body image research. The paper aimed to evaluate 1) the methodological strengths and weaknesses of MIPs 2) report key study findings and 3) provide recommendations for future research using MIPs in body image research. Fifteen papers were reviewed and evaluated using a bespoke quality assessment tool. The majority of papers within the review included several limitations related to study design and MIP methodology. Key study findings suggested an effect of negative emotions (e.g., sadness) on body size estimation/body satisfaction. Due to identified methodological limitations, the validity of individual study findings and the literature area was questioned. Recommendations to improve the quality of future studies using MIPs in body image research are provided. The empirical study in Paper Two aimed to investigate the theoretical concept of 'emotion coupling' between sadness and disgust in people with high eating concerns (HEC), and whether this may be linked to changes in body size estimation. A sadness mood induction procedure (MIP) was utilised to explore the proposed emotion coupling effect in those with HEC (n=26) and low eating concerns (LEC) (n=23), respectively. Results failed to find evidence of an emotion coupling effect between sadness and disgust in the HEC group, or differences in body size estimation, when compared to the LEC group. The HEC group displayed significantly different emotion regulation styles compared to the LEC group, indicating more unhelpful strategies in the former group. Methodological limitations and future research avenues are discussed.Paper Three provides a personal and critical reflective account of the research process as a whole. It critically evaluates the strengths and limitations of the literature review and the empirical study. The paper discusses theoretical and methodological limitations and implications for both Papers One and Two. In addition, implications for clinical practice and future research avenues are considered. Paper 3 also provides personal reflections on decision-making processes and challenges encountered within the research.
Date of Award31 Dec 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorJohn Fox (Supervisor) & Dougal Hare (Supervisor)

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