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Title Stress, Eating Behavior, and Mindfulness among College Students
Publication Date
Degree MA
Discipline/Department Psychology
Degree Level masters
University/Publisher The Ohio State University
Abstract Prior literature suggests that people who are subjected to acute stress tend to overeat and make more unhealthy food choices. In addition, more mindful people tend to have better health behaviors. However, past research has not evaluated whether mindfulness moderates the relationship between stress and eating behavior. The current study investigated whether mindfulness protected against stress-related eating behavior. This study explored the relationship between stress and eating behavior among 97 undergraduate women. Participants were randomly assigned to the control condition (n = 54, a reading task and simple arithmetic task), or stress condition (n = 43, a job speech and complex arithmetic task). Afterwards, the women were offered red grapes and M&Ms as part of what was described as a taste test to evaluate total caloric intake and food choice (proportion of M & M servings eaten over total servings eaten). Mindfulness did not predict caloric intake or proportion of M & M servings relative to total servings eaten. Additionally, mindfulness did not moderate the relationship between stress and eating behavior. In contrast to previous studies, women consumed fewer total calories in the stress condition compared to those in the control condition. However, greater decreases in positive affect following the TSST were associated with a higher proportion of M & M servings to total servings. Stress itself influences caloric intake, but affective response to stress can alter food choice by increasing unhealthy food preference. High fat, high sugar diets can lead to obesity, which increases risk for many adverse health conditions. Therefore, identifying protective factors for higher emotional reactivity to stress could improve overall health.
Subjects/Keywords Psychology; Stress, diet, mindfulness
Contributors Kiecolt-Glaser, Janice (Advisor)
Language en
Rights unrestricted ; This thesis or dissertation is protected by copyright: all rights reserved. It may not be copied or redistributed beyond the terms of applicable copyright laws.
Country of Publication us
Format application/pdf
Record ID oai:etd.ohiolink.edu:osu1494270779255547
Repository ohiolink
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2017-10-24
Grantor The Ohio State University

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…psychology students enrolled in Introductory Psychology at the Ohio State University. This program awards course credit for research participation. Only women were included to reduce gender confounds due to potential differences in mindfulness and eating…