Stress-induced food choice: the contributing role of eight domain-specific stressors Exploring how food choice is (negatively) influenced by eight domain-specific stressors, with a focus on “anxiety and depression”, and assessing how three coping resources may condition these effects, with a focus on “impulsiveness”.

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Stress may contribute to poor diets, leading to a variety of negative consequences affecting both the individual and society at large. Building on the Transactional Model of Stress and Coping, the current study therefore aimed to explore how a total of eight domain-specific stressors may influence food choice negatively by focusing on “poorer food choice” as stress-coping behavior. Moreover, three stress-coping resources were explored to assess their conditioning effects. An extensive literature review was executed first, to assess the stressors’ individual- as well as relative influence on food choice and to develop a comprehensive theoretically-guided framework. Second, an empirical study was executed on data of 65 healthy participants collected by a previous study through the means of a stress-induced food intake test (Janssen et al., 2018), to assess the effects of one stressor and coping resource in particular. Results of the empirical study showed that anxiety and depression as stressor were not significantly related to poorer food choice, and that impulsiveness as coping resource did not have a moderation effect. This was in contradiction with what was expected from the literature review. The study generally supports the idea that some stressors pose a higher risk for poor food choices than others, on which future research may built by adding empirically-obtained knowledge. For health organizations this has as implication that they should take a versatile perspective towards the stress-coping mechanism, and adapt their intervention-efforts accordingly
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