Perceived daily tension and food cravings and consumption: A within- and between-person investigation

Shina Leow, Natalya J. Beer, Kym J. Guelfi, Amanda L. Rebar, Jacqueline A. Alderson, Ben Jackson, James A. Dimmock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research examining the relationship between negative states such as tension/anxiety and food intake has typically overlooked the naturally occurring variability of day-to-day experiences and the subsequent consequences for eating behavior. In this study, the relationship of within- and between-person perceived daily tension with food cravings and consumption was assessed. One hundred and forty-two men and women (Mage=21.3, SDage=5.3) completed a survey daily for 7 consecutive days. Levels of perceived daily tension, food cravings, and consumption were assessed. Linear and logistic mixed effect regression models were used to examine associations between tension and food cravings and consumption variables, respectively. Individuals reported greater cravings (for sweets, OR 95% CI 1.05–1.26; carbohydrates/starches, OR 95% CI 1.02–1.26; and fast foods, OR 95% CI 1.01–1.19) and consuming more carbohydrates/starches (b 95% CI 0.05–0.79) on days when they felt more tension. Individuals with higher tension had more cravings (total OR 95% CI 1.09–1.71; and specifically for sweets, OR 95% CI 1.04–1.42; and fast foods, OR 95% CI 1.15–1.54) and reported consuming more sweet (b 95% CI 0.21–1.10) and fast foods (b 95% CI 0.55–1.66). These findings suggest that greater perceived tension (both within and between individuals) is associated with increased food cravings and consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101473
JournalEating Behaviors
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


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