Great expectations. Eating expectancies as mediators of reinforcement sensitivity and eating

Hennegan, Julie M., Loxton, Natalie J. and Mattar, Ameerah (2013) Great expectations. Eating expectancies as mediators of reinforcement sensitivity and eating. Appetite, 71 81-88. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2013.07.013

Author Hennegan, Julie M.
Loxton, Natalie J.
Mattar, Ameerah
Title Great expectations. Eating expectancies as mediators of reinforcement sensitivity and eating
Journal name Appetite   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0195-6663
Publication date 2013-12-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.appet.2013.07.013
Volume 71
Start page 81
End page 88
Total pages 8
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
• Positive reinforcement expectancies mediated reward sensitivity and external eating.
• Negative reinforcement expectancies mediated threat sensitivity and emotional eating.
• An implicit expectancy measure supported reward sensitivity and expectancies.
• Threat and conflict sensitivities were not associated with implicit expectancies.

Eating expectancies are proposed as cognitive pathways linking reinforcement (reward and punishment) sensitivities and the tendency to over-eat in response to appetitive and emotional cues. In Study One (N = 243 university women) explicit eating expectancies were tested as potential mediators of reinforcement sensitivities and eating styles. Broadly, expectancies that eating alleviates negative affect/boredom mediated both reward and punishment sensitivity and emotional eating. The expectancy that eating is pleasurable and rewarding mediated reward sensitivity and external eating. In Study Two (N = 109), using an implicit eating expectancy task, reward sensitivity and external eating was mediated via positive expectancy statements, notably, that eating is pleasurable and rewarding. Reward sensitivity and emotional eating was mediated specifically by expectancies that eating manages boredom. Punishment sensitivity was not associated with any implicit expectancies. Findings support the role of expectancies as cognitive mediators in the relationship between reinforcement sensitivities and emotionally-driven versus externally-driven eating styles. However, the largely appetitive implicit expectancies task only supported an association with reward sensitivity.
Keyword Reinforcement sensitivity theory
Implicit expectancies
External eating
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Created: Thu, 05 Sep 2013, 19:10:26 EST by Dr Natalie Loxton on behalf of School of Psychology