Stress induced eating and food preference in humans: A pilot study

Mark L. Willenbring, Allen S Levine, John E. Morley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Psychological stress has been shown to produce feeding behavior in both humans and animals. In our animal studies, it appears that the texture of the food may determine how well a food alleviates stress. We studied the food preferences of 80 stress‐eating and nonstress‐eating adults and examined the relationships of them with current stress, sex, age, and weight. Preference for high caloric density foods is predicted by being a stress‐eater and lower current stress and is associated with a concern over feeding behavior and normal weight. Preference for low caloric density foods is predicted by high stress and stress‐eating, as well as obesity, being older and not smoking. Food preference was associated also with food texture. A preference for salty foods (as opposed to sweets) was associated with being younger, stressed, nonobese, and eating less when stressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)855-864
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1986

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