Stress-induced eating

Psychol Bull. 1994 May;115(3):444-64. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.115.3.444.


Stress is widely thought to lead to overeating. Studies of stress-induced eating have tested two models. One has tested whether stress increases eating in all exposed organisms and has been tested primarily with animals and physical stressors. The other has tested individual differences in vulnerability to stress-induced eating and has tested only human subjects and psychological stressors. The most consistent set of findings shows that "restrained" eating predicts vulnerability among women; we conclude that for the stressors studied to date, the individual-difference model has received stronger support. Because the question motivating much of this research is whether stress-induced eating causes obesity, future research should assess the effect of stress on weight-change more directly.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Weight
  • Eating*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperphagia / psychology*
  • Individuality
  • Motivation
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*