This study examined the relationships between chronic stress, food cravings, and body mass index. A community-based sample of adults (N = 619) completed a comprehensive assessment battery and heights and weights were measured. Chronic stress had a significant direct effect on food cravings, and food cravings had a significant direct effect on body mass index. The total effect of chronic stress on body mass index was significant. Food cravings partially mediated the relationship between chronic stress and body mass index. These findings are consistent with research that chronic stress may potentiate motivation for rewarding substances and behaviors and indicate that high food cravings may contribute to stress-related weight gain.
Keywords: body mass index; eating behaviors; food cravings; obesity; stress.
© The Author(s) 2015.