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Mediterranean diet and emotion regulation



Mediterranean dietary patterns have been associated with cardiovascular and psychological health, including positive affect. Emotion regulation has not been linked to this pattern.


The present study prospectively examined the relationship between Mediterranean diet and later emotion regulation and whether positive or negative affect mediated any such relationship.


Data was derived from the Adventist Health Study-2 (2002-6), and Biopsychosocial Religion and Health Substudy (2006-7; 2010-11). We assessed adherence to Mediterranean diet using the Trichopoulou score at baseline, and responses to Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (2006-7) and Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (2010-11) in 1,699 men and 3,293 women. Statistical analyses were performed using multiple linear regression and Hayes PROCESS SPSS macros.


Mediterranean dietary adherence scores were inversely related to difficulty with clarity of emotional responses (B = –0.013, p = 0.006, 95% CI [–0.23, –0.004]) but unrelated to difficulty with awareness of emotional responses or lack of access to strategies for regulating emotions. Positive and negative affect fully mediated the diet and clarity relationship by respectively decreasing and increasing difficulty with clarity (effect scores –0.007 [95% CI –0.009, –0.005] and –0.005 [95% CI –0.008, –0.003]).


Mediterranean diet adherence showed association with emotional clarity via increasing positive and decreasing negative affect.