How emotions affect eating: a five-way model

Appetite. 2008 Jan;50(1):1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2007.07.002. Epub 2007 Jul 25.


Despite the importance of affective processes in eating behaviour, it remains difficult to predict how emotions affect eating. Emphasizing individual differences, previous research did not pay full attention to the twofold variability of emotion-induced changes of eating (variability across both individuals and emotions). By contrast, the present paper takes into account both individual characteristics and emotion features, and specifies five classes of emotion-induced changes of eating: (1) emotional control of food choice, (2) emotional suppression of food intake, (3) impairment of cognitive eating controls, (4) eating to regulate emotions, and (5) emotion-congruent modulation of eating. These classes are distinguished by antecedent conditions, eating responses and mediating mechanisms. They point to basic functional principles underlying the relations between emotions and biologically based motives: interference, concomitance and regulation. Thus, emotion-induced changes of eating can be a result of interference of eating by emotions, a by-product of emotions, and a consequence of regulatory processes (i.e., emotions may regulate eating, and eating may regulate emotions).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Appetite Regulation / physiology
  • Eating / psychology*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Food
  • Food Preferences / psychology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological