Happy eating : the underestimated role of overeating in a positive mood

P. Bongers*, A. Jansen, R. Havermans, A. Roefs, C. Nederkoorn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Emotional eaters are often presumed to eat in response to negative emotions, while positive emotions have been largely neglected. The current study induced a positive, negative, or neutral mood in a student sample and subsequently measured food intake. In addition, the relation between caloric intake and mood improvement was assessed. It was expected that emotional eaters would consume more food than non-emotional eaters in the emotional conditions, and also more than in the neutral condition. Moderated regression analyses indeed showed a significant increase in food intake for emotional eaters in the positive compared to the neutral condition, and a trend towards higher food consumption than non-emotional eaters. No effects were found in the negative condition. With regard to mood changes during food intake, Pearson correlations demonstrated an association between amount of calories consumed and mood improvement after 5min of food consumption. However, there was no evidence for differences between emotional and non-emotional eaters. The current findings underline the importance of positive emotions in emotional eating, and provide new insights on the relationship between eating and mood melioration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-80
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


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