The influence of stress inducing brain teasers on emotions and snack preferences among college students

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Yaranon, Paolo
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BA (Hons) in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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Objective: The main purpose of the study was to investigate the relationship between stress, emotions, and snack preferences among college students. It also aimed to examine differences on unhealthy and healthy snacks as a form of stress reliever. Methods: Forty-four participants aged between 20 and 49 were randomly allocated into two conditions. One condition had easy brain teasers while the other had a difficult set. Mood and stress/emotion-related eating questionnaires were administered followed by an offer of healthy and unhealthy snacks. Results: Participants in the difficult condition had significantly taken more unhealthy snacks than those in the easy condition. Also, there was a significant difference on the negative mood states before and after the tests were solved. Conclusion: People under stress may resort to unhealthy eating as a form of coping strategy. It also showed that stress has a major impact on emotions, particularly on negative affect. Author keywords: Stress, emotion, snack preferences