Perceived effects of stress on food choice

Physiol Behav. 1999 May;66(3):511-5. doi: 10.1016/s0031-9384(98)00322-9.


Self-reported effects of stress on eating behaviour and food were assessed in a brief questionnaire in 212 students. Snacking behaviour was reportedly increased by stress in the majority of respondents (73%) regardless of gender or dieting status. The overall increase in snacking during stress was reflected by reports of increased intake of "snack-type" foods in all respondents, regardless of dieting status. In contrast, intake of "meal-type" foods (fruit and vegetables, meat and fish) was reported to decrease during stressful periods. The majority of the respondents reported an effect of stress on overall amount eaten, but while snacking, roughly equal numbers reporting decreased intake (42%) and increased intake (38%). The direction of change in intake could be predicted in part by dieting status, with dieters being more likely to report stress hyperphagia and nondieters being more likely to report stress hypophagia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Image
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Choice Behavior / physiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet, Reducing / psychology
  • Eating / physiology
  • Eating / psychology
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Food / classification
  • Food Preferences / physiology*
  • Food Preferences / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self-Assessment
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology