Consumer views of hunger and fullness. A qualitative approach

Melinda Murray, Zata M Vickers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to gain a better understanding of the complex ideas of hunger and fullness from consumers through the use of focus groups. We report results of 4 focus group interviews with (1) female normal weight dieters, (2) female normal weight non-dieters, (3) female overweight dieters and non-dieters, and (4) male normal weight dieters and non-dieters. Hunger and fullness sensations were described as having both physical and psychological components that were divided into two groups: typical and extreme. Overall, hunger was described as the presence of stomach growls, stomach hunger pains, emptiness, focus on eating, loss of energy, and desire to eat. Fullness was described as a feeling of food in the stomach, stomach stretch, satisfaction, contentment, energized, focused, and lack of the desire to eat. Typical fullness was described with many psychological components while typical hunger was primarily physical in nature. Participants described situations where sensations of mental hunger and physical fullness overlapped, which provided evidence that the overall constructs of hunger and fullness may not be simple, polar opposites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-182
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research has been supported in part by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, the Sensory Center in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition, and General Mills, Inc., Minneapolis, MN 55427.


  • Focus group
  • Fullness
  • Hunger
  • Satiety


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