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Negative affect-induced food intake in non-dieting women is reward driven and associated with restrained-disinhibited eating subtype

Publication Date
  • 111100 Nutrition And Dietetics
  • Negative Affect
  • Restraint-Disihnibition Subtype
  • Eating Behaviour Traits
  • Reward
  • Wanting
  • Food Intake
  • Literature


In humans the presence of negative affect is thought to promote food intake, but there is widespread variability. Susceptibility to negative affect-induced eating may depend on trait eating behaviours, notably ‘emotional eating’, ‘restrained eating’ and ‘disinhibited eating’, but the evidence is not consistent. In the present study, 30 non-obese, non-dieting women were given access to palatable food whilst in a state of negative or neutral affect, induced by a validated autobiographical recall technique. As predicted, food intake was higher in the presence of negative affect; however, this effect was moderated by the pattern of eating behaviour traits and enhanced wanting for the test food. Specifically, the High Restraint-High Disinhibition subtype in combination with higher scores on emotional eating and food wanting was able to predict negative-affect intake (adjusted R2 = .61). In the absence of stress, individuals who are both restrained and vulnerable to disinhibited eating are particularly susceptible to negative affect food intake via stimulation of food wanting. Identification of traits that predispose individuals to overconsume and a more detailed understanding of the specific behaviours driving such overconsumption may help to optimise strategies to prevent weight gain.

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