Chocolate craving among children: Implications for disordered eating patterns

F. Cartwright, Werner Stritzke, K. Durkin, Stephen Houghton, V. Burke, Lawrence Beilin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The aim was to test the validity of a multidimensional model of chocolate craving among children, and to examine if the dimensions underlying the model predict consumption and eating disordered symptoms. Participants were 602 children (53% female) aged 11, 12, and 13 from 11 schools in Western Australia. Measures included the Orientation to Chocolate Questionnaire (OCQ) designed to assess three components of chocolate craving (approach, avoidance, and guilt), questions assessing body image dissatisfaction and dieting, and body mass index (BMI). Using structural equation modeling, results confirmed that chocolate craving among children is best conceptualized as a three-factor model (approach, avoidance, guilt). The underlying dimensions were differentially associated with self-reported chocolate consumption and indicators of disordered eating patterns. After controlling for BMI and gender, chocolate-related guilt was strongly associated with greater body dissatisfaction and dieting, and avoidance inclinations were also associated with dieting. Chocolate-related guilt was higher in girls than in boys. Results suggest that children experience chocolate craving as a multidimensional phenomenon reflecting some ambivalence. A gender difference in chocolate-related guilt appears to emerge in childhood, potentially contributing to a greater risk for girls to develop exaggerated concerns about body shape and weight. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-95
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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