Acute stress can boost and buffer hedonic consumption: The role of individual differences in consumer life history strategies

Bob M. Fennis, Justina Gineikiene, Dovile Barauskaite, G.M. van Koningsbruggen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Mixed findings on the relationship between acute stress and the tendency to engage in hedonic food consumption suggest that stress may both boost and buffer hedonic eating. The present research aims to contribute to reconciling these mixed findings by focusing on the role of individual differences in consumer life history strategies (LHS) –short-term, impulsive, reward-sensitive (fast) vs. long-term, reflective, goal-oriented (slow) self-regulatory strategies– that might drive hedonic eating. We propose and show that stress may boost hedonic consumption among fast LHS consumers, while the relationship is buffered (non-significant) among their slow LHS counterparts. Moreover, we find that this stress-induced eating among fast LHS consumers is also cue-driven such that fast (but not slow) LHS consumers show a higher sensitivity to scarcity cues signaling the desirability of a palatable food under conditions of stress. Finally, we find that a cue indicating a high caloric content of the food may curb the tendency for fast LHS consumers to engage in (over) consumption of hedonic foods under stress.
Original languageEnglish
Article number111261
Number of pages11
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Volume185
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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