Weight-problem perception is an individual’s self-assessment that they are overweight or obese, and is associated with emotional eating beyond that which can be explained by self-reported weight status and depression. Extant research, however, has not examined weight-problem perception and emotional eating within Latinas in the United States. The purpose of this study was to investigate emotional eating, weight-problem perception, self-reported weight status (overweight, not overweight), depression, acculturation, and enculturation within Latinas. It was hypothesized that weight-problem perception, but not weight status, would contribute to higher levels of emotional eating after depression and an acculturation-enculturation interaction were covaried. Participants were 268 undergraduates from southeastern California who identified as female and as Latina. Participants completed questionnaires to measure the variables of interest. Results indicated that emotional eating in Latinas was correlated positively with body mass index and depression (p’s ≤ .05) but not at all with acculturation nor enculturation (p’s ≥ .05). Analyses of covariance revealed that neither weight-problem perception (p = .10) nor weight status (p = .05) had significant main effects on emotional eating whereas depression was a significant covariate (p ≤ .01). Limitations include correlational design and an exclusively undergraduate sample with little Latinx-subgroup variability. The inclusion of precise cultural or appearance-related variables in future research might explain why a relationship between weight-problem perception and emotional eating was not observed in this study. Implications include possible consideration of subjective distress about perceived weight, the role that treating depression might play to reduce emotional eating among Latinas, and the need to include ethnicity and culture in research about and interventions for weight-problem perception, emotional eating, and depression.
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