But, when faced with positive feedback, munchers actually ate less than the control group, while skippers tended to eat more the skippers consumed, on average, 74 calories' worth more than the munchers.
"We predicted that munchers and skippers differ in food intake after experiencing a positive situation," says Sproesser. "However, we were rather surprised that the data showed an almost mirror image in ice cream consumption when compared to the data from the social exclusion condition."
The research offers insight for anyone who wants to understand the relationship between stress and eating, but it has specific importance for clinicians and practitioners working to promote healthy eating.The patterns of calorie consumption suggest that the behavior of both munchers and skippers could significantly influence body weight over time.
"Stress eaters should not be considered at risk to gain weight by default," says Sproesser. "Our results suggest the need for a dynamic view of food intake across multiple situations, positive and negative."
"Furthermore, our findings suggest rethinking the recommendation to regulate stress eating. Skipping food when being stressed may cause additional stress in munchers and could possibly disturb compensation across situations."
|Contact: Anna Mikulak|
Association for Psychological Science