Trait anxiety, but not trait anger, predisposes obese individuals to emotional eating

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Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine

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Adult; *Affect; *Anger; *Anxiety; *Body Mass Index; Case-Control Studies; Feeding Behavior; Female; Humans; Hyperphagia; Male; Middle Aged; Obesity; Young Adult


Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Community Health | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion


The present study examined whether trait anxiety and trait anger are associated with vulnerability to emotional eating, particularly among obese individuals. Lean (n = 37) and obese (n = 24) participants engaged in a laboratory study where they completed measures of trait anxiety and trait anger at screening and then completed 3 counterbalanced experimental sessions involving different mood inductions (neutral, anxiety, anger). Following each mood induction, participants were provided with snack foods in a sham taste test. Models predicting snack intake revealed a significant trait anxietyxbody mass index group interaction, such that high trait anxiety was positively associated with food intake for obese individuals, but not their lean counterparts. Contrary to the hypothesis, trait anger was not associated with food intake for obese or lean participants. Results suggest that trait anxiety may be a risk factor for emotional eating among obese individuals.


Emotional eating, Trait anxiety, Trait anger, Obesity

DOI of Published Version



Schneider KL, Appelhans BM, Whited MC, Oleski J, Pagoto SL. Trait anxiety, but not trait anger, predisposes obese individuals to emotional eating. Appetite. 2010 Dec;55(3):701-6. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2010.10.006. Link to article on publisher's site

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