Hunger, inhibitory control and distress-induced emotional eating.

T. van Strien, M.A. Ouwens, C.G. Engel, C. de Weerth

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Self-reported emotional eating has been found to significantly moderate distress-induced food intake, with low emotional eaters eating less after a stress task than after a control task and high emotional eaters eating more. The aim of the present study was to explore possible underlying mechanisms by assessing possible associations with (1) ability to experience the typical post-stress reduction of hunger and (2) inhibitory control. We studied these effects in 54 female students who were preselected on the basis of extremely high or low scores on an emotional eating questionnaire. Using a within subject design we measured the difference of actual food or snack intake after a control or a stress task (Trier Social Stress Test). As expected, the moderator effect of emotional eating on distress-induced food intake was found to be only present in females with a failure to report the typical reduction of hunger immediately after a stress task (an a-typical hunger stress response). Contrary to our expectations, this moderator effect of emotional eating was also found to be only present in females with high ability to stop motor impulses (high inhibitory control). These findings suggest that an a-typical hunger stress response but not poor inhibitory control may underlie the moderator effect of emotional eating on distress-induced food intake. However, inhibitory control may play a role whether or not there is a moderator effect of self-reported emotional eating on distress-induced food intake. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-133
JournalAppetite
Volume79
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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