Effects of the Pythagorean Self Awareness Intervention on Childhood Emotional Eating and Psychological Wellbeing: a Pragmatic Trial

Despina S. Kalogiratou, Flora Bacopoulou, Christina Kanaka-Gantenbein, Xanthi Tigani, Orsalia Gerakini, Dimitrios Vlachakis, George P. Chrousos, Christina Darviri


Background: Emotional eating is the tendency to regulate negative emotions (such as stress, depression and anxiety) through increased or unhealthy food intake. Emotion management, such as stress management could be an appropriate approach to prevent or control maladaptive eating behavior among children. Materials and methods: This is a controlled pragmatic trial, testing the effects of Pythagorean Self Awareness Intervention (PSAI), a cognitive stress management program in a primary school setting. The eligibility criterion was being a 4th grade active pupil. Participants were randomly assigned to either the intervention group (n = 23) or the control group (n = 22). Self-report measures were used for the evaluation of various variables at the beginning and the end of the 8-week monitoring period. Descriptive and inferential statistic methods were used for the statistical analysis. Results: At the end of the 8-week period pupils in the intervention group experienced statistically significant reduction in stress (SIC, p < 0.001), anxiety (STAIC-trait anxiety, p = 0.019, STAIC-state anxiety, p = 0.006), guilt (p < 0.001) and emotional eating (EES-C, p < 0.001) and an increase in Mediterranean diet quality (KIDMED, p = 0.001) and pride (p < 0.001). No statistically significant differences between the two groups were recorded regarding depression symptoms (CDI, p = 0.551) and shame (p = 0.120). Conclusions: PSAI had positive effects on a sample of primary school attendants’ emotional eating and psychological state.


stress;- emotional eating;- primary school;- stress management;-Pythagorean Self Awareness


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