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Free The Relationship of Stress and Induced Eating Essay Sample

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The research tries to establish the relationship of stress and induced eating between males and females through experimental design. A definition of stress is established that allows the study to research on its effects on induced eating. It is designed to establish whether there is a connection between stress and eating habits between males and females and if there is, what the connection is. It is initiated by a personal experience that led to increased uptake of food when stressed and finally tries to answer what degree of stress can trigger over consumption of food by an individual.

It builds on past researches studied by Zellner, et al, 2006 and Royal, & Kurtz, 2010 who have found out that stress increases food intake by individuals. The methodology is an experiment that induces stress on both males and females through a simple and difficult calculation in presence of snacks where their intake of food is noted and an average found to establish the quantity by both males and females. An interview targeting both females and males will collect data to support the thesis whether stress increase food intake.


Stress is the experience that is initiated when reacting to a situation, the body reacts in this ways to counter a challenge and prepare itself to tackle the tough circumstances when focused, with strength, alertness and stamina. Stress can therefore affect the body in many ways such as; clouded thoughts, muscle tension, loss of sleep and most importantly the eating habits of the individual. Stress affects feeding by either increasing or reducing the amounts eaten by a person, but also poor diet can result to stressing the body.

This research tackles how stress affects the eating habits and why it does so especially between males and females. It is meant to establish whether there is a connection between stress and eating habits and if so what is the connection. The research is initiated by personal experience that has led to an uptake of foods thus trying to establish the effects of the stress between males and females is to know whether they are all affected in the same way. It also tends to answer what degree of stress can trigger over consumption.

Literature Review

Research has proven that stress has an effect on feeding habits, Zellner, et al, 2006 in the study "Food selection changes under stress" finds out that individuals increase their eating rates when stressed. It specifically indicates that approximately 70% of self controlled eaters in the study increased their food consumption when under stress another 35% of those classified as regular eaters i.e. those who are not able to restrict their eating habits also increased their intake of food when stressed. The study also shows that the foods eaten by the above individuals were mostly categorized under unhealthy foods which were high in fat content (junk foods); they attributed eating these foods to feeling better as they ate (Wallis & Hetherington, 2009).

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Royal, & Kurtz, 2010 in the study "I ate what?! The effect of stress and dispositional eating style on food intake and behavioral awareness" indicate that stress affected the behavior awareness that results to higher intake of food by the stressed individuals. The study involved some individuals who were subjected to unsolvable anagram that initiated stress in their bodies while there was presence of food i.e. snacks in the room; other individuals were subjected to the same situation but given a solvable anagram (Epel Et al. 2001). The results showed that those who were under intense stress consumed more. In conclusion the study predicted that the reason related to the more food consumption for individuals under high stress was because they focused more on solving the anagram instead of the food hence lost track of the amount they consumed.

Stressed individuals find themselves sometimes drinking a lot of coffee, eating the wrong foods, mindlessly munching, eating a lot of fast foods, and crashing their diets. Griffin, et al, argue that when stressed the body tends to utilize energy faster this affects the metabolism of the individual and as a result the nutrient requirement. This makes the individual increase the uptake. This increased uptake is required fill the energy consumed through increased metabolic actions such as; muscle tension, heartbeats rates and blood pleasure increase (Wheeler, 2007).

People use food to cope with their stress; this will mean that they increase the intake of foods especially sweet and salty foods this is categorized as emotional hunger which will make the individual feed more than usual (Cotton, 1990). This hypothetically helps end their emotional distress through food.

Can stress change a person's eating habits in males and females? And if so, does it increase the amount of food intake or decrease it?

What is the relationship between food restriction and stress?

The method which I will use to solicit information is scale measurement by use of Holmes and Rahe stress scale. The scale was designed by Psychiatrists Richard Rahe and Thomas Holmes who come up with a list of 43 life stressful events and how they affect human behavior (Mitchell & Epstein, 1996). The scale was well elaborated as the sample which was used in the study was over 5000 medical patients. There are two scales one for adults and non adults and for the purpose of this assignment I will use non adult scale which will help in interpretation of the college students which I am to use in the study.

The participants who will be involved in the study are college students. This consists of teenagers whose factors of stress differ with the adults. This category of the population mainly are stressed by issues which arise from their homes, college, relation with parents, relation with brothers and sisters and boy friend girl friend relationships. Such stressful events affect eating habits for both men and females.

Materials and procedure

The materials to be used in the study are the 43 life events which affect college male and female students. Such as death of parent, unwanted pregnancy, suspension from school, accepted to the college of choice, arguments with parents and peers and addition to third party person in the person. An Interview will be done to both males and females on experiences they may have been through that affected their eating habits and how they affected them. An experiment will be carried out on a process to initiate stress using a difficult mathematical calculation on both males and females in presence of snacks such as chocolate and peanuts thus see establish how they both vary in food intake. They will then be subjected to another simpler mathematical calculation in presence of same snacks to identify the amounts they take. This will help to establish the actual amounts in kilograms then fill the data form. These results will be direct since they will be established by quantity fed on. The average fed on by males and that of females will be established thus predict the relationship between stress and induced eating on the gender.

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