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The effects of stress upon coping and eating behaviours


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Lagerewskij, Larissa 1996 , 'The effects of stress upon coping and eating behaviours', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Causes of stress for adolescents include school transition, interpersonal
difficulties, separation and death, and excessive homework and pressures from peers and
adults. Adolescents cope with stress in various ways. Coping is a means of restoring the
equilibrium and varies according to the nature of the concern. Coping strategies
commonly used by adolescents include relaxing, working, solving the problem and
participating in physical activity. Contradictory findings exist on whether adolescents
also utilise negative avoidance strategies such as eating, drinking alcohol and smoking
cigarettes. What is known, however, is that young people have greater stress levels than
adults and less effective and fewer coping strategies.
Stress can have a significant effect upon eating behaviour. This is a concern as it
may be a risk factor in the development of eating disorders and obesity. Knowledge
about how people make decisions with regard to food choices can provide invaluable
information in the promotion of nutrition and in the prevention of diseases. Ajzen-Fishbein's
Theory of Reasoned Action gives an understanding of dietary motivation. Research on stress induced eating is contradictory. Some studies support the
notion that stress results in an increase in eating whilst other studies report a reduction in
eating and no change in eating behaviour. Two theories purport to explain stress-induced
eating: the General Effect model and the Individual Differences model. The former
proposes that stress causes physiological changes which, in turn, result in an increase in
eating. The latter theory proposes that some individuals will increase their food intake as
a result of stress whereas others will not. The literature indicates that further research is
needed in this area to explain how individuals cope with stress and how stress affects
eating behaviour.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Lagerewskij, Larissa
Keywords: Eating disorders in adolescence, Adjustment (Psychology) in adolescence, Stress in adolescence
Copyright Holders: The Author
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Additional Information:

Thesis (M.Psych.)--University of Tasmania, 1997. Includes bibliographical references

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