Differential effects of approach bias and eating style on unhealthy food consumption in overweight and normal weight women

Naomi Kakoschke, Eva Kemps, Marika Tiggemann

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The current study aimed to examine the effects of approach bias for unhealthy food and trait eating style on consumption of unhealthy food in overweight and normal weight individuals. Method: Participants were 245 undergraduate women aged 17 – 26 years. They completed an Approach–Avoidance Task, the Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire (to assess restrained, emotional, and external eating), and a taste test to measure consumption of unhealthy food. Results: An external eating style predicted increased consumption of unhealthy food. Among overweight participants, external and emotional eating style individually moderated the relationship between approach bias for unhealthy food and subsequent consumption. Specifically, approach bias was positively related to consumption in high external and emotional eaters, but negatively related to consumption in low emotional eaters. These interactions were not observed among normal weight participants. Conclusion: Practically, the results suggest that overweight individuals who are external or emotional eaters may benefit from interventions that aim to modify approach bias towards unhealthy food cues to reduce problematic eating behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1371-1385
Number of pages15
JournalPsychology & Health
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • approach bias
  • body weight
  • eating style
  • food consumption

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