Does self-affirmation following ego-depletion moderate restrained eaters’ explicit preferences for, and implicit associations with, high-calorie foods?

Storr, Scarlett Marie and Sparks, Paul (2016) Does self-affirmation following ego-depletion moderate restrained eaters’ explicit preferences for, and implicit associations with, high-calorie foods? Psychology & Health, 31 (7). pp. 840-856. ISSN 0887-0446

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Abstract

Objective: The difficulty for chronic dieters (i.e., restrained eaters) in regulating their food intake is a conflict between two apparently incompatible goals: eating enjoyment and weight control. The latter goal consistently relies on the deployment of cognitive resources, and very often on a significant amount of self-control. This study investigated whether self-affirmation might counteract the effect of ego depletion on restrained eaters’ motivation to consume high-calorie foods.

Design: Participants (N = 183) were assigned to one of four conditions in a 2 x 2 (Ego depletion x Self-Affirmation) experimental design and were subsequently exposed to images of high- and low-calorie foods.

Main outcome measures: Participants completed tasks assessing their implicit and explicit preferences for high vs. low-calorie foods, along with a measure of the perceived self-control required to resist foods.

Results: Results indicated that, following ego depletion, self-affirmation facilitated restrained eaters’ perceptions of self-control and led to lower explicit preferences for high calorie foods. This pattern was not apparent for implicit preferences.

Conclusion: Self-affirmation interventions may be capable of restoring self-control resources among restrained eaters. Pointers for future research and practical applications are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: ego depletion, restrained eaters, self-affirmation, attitudes, control, high-calorie foods
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0608 Will. Volition. Choice. Control
Depositing User: Paul Sparks
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2016 08:07
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2017 19:04
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/62050

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