The social environment, which plays a critical role, is an important factor for self-development during adolescence. On the other hand, gifted adolescents may be relatively at risk in social relationships. Therefore, the first objective of the current research is to examine the relationship between social anxiety and emotional eating in normative adolescents. The second objective is to examine whether this relationship would be different for academically gifted adolescents. For both groups, three constructs of social anxiety were examined: fear of negative evaluation, social avoidance and distress for new or unfamiliar situations, and social avoidance and distress for general situations. In total, 429 Dutch high school students completed measures of emotional eating and social anxiety (normative = 246, gifted = 83). The results from a confirmatory factor analysis showed that for normative adolescents only fear of negative evaluation was positively related to emotional eating (p <.001). For academically gifted adolescents, there were no significant relationships between any of the three constructs of social anxiety and emotional eating. Results and implications for future research directions are discussed. Future research projects would benefit from the exploration and addition of coping mechanisms to such studies. This could allow researchers to investigate the potential mediational effects of coping strategies between anxiety and emotional eating in these two groups.
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© 2021 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.