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Eat Behav. 2008 Apr;9(2):137-42. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2007.06.006. Epub 2007 Jun 20.

Perceived stress and eating behaviors in a community-based sample of African Americans.

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Department of Psychology, Howard University, Washington, DC 20059, United States.


Previous studies have reported that psychological stress is associated with greater food consumption, particularly consumption of high fat foods. We are unaware of any studies that have examined stress-induced eating among African Americans (AAs). The goals of the current study were to examine the relationship between perceived stress and high fat eating behaviors in a sample of AAs, to examine whether this relationship is stronger among overweight and obese participants, and to examine whether haphazard meal planning mediates the relationship between perceived stress and high fat eating behaviors. One hundred fifty-nine adults from a metropolitan area completed the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10), the Eating Behaviors Pattern Questionnaire (EBPQ), a demographic questionnaire, and body mass was assessed with BMI. Perceived stress was associated with haphazard planning and emotional eating, but not related to other high fat eating domains in the overall sample. These findings held for overweight and obese participants with the addition of snacking on sweets. High fat eating behaviors were not mediated by haphazard meal planning. These findings are consistent with other studies which demonstrate a link between stress and eating. Long-term interventions for high fat consumption and obesity should include an examination of perceived stress among AAs.

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