Food Choices under Stress: Considering Internet Usage and Social Support

It is a known fact that stress negatively affects food choices. Consequentially, this paper analyzes three different research questions using a sample of 330 international students in Germany. Firstly, it is observed if stress affects students’ motivations to eat, i.e. if it triggers changes in the motivation behind food choices. Results show that this is not the case. Secondly, it is tested if social support acts as a buffer on the relationship between stress and healthy eating, similarly to the model proposed by Lakey and Cohen (2000), where social support buffers the negative consequences of stress on health. Specifically, it is tested whether social support affects Internet usage and subsequently if Internet usage is a coping strategy and eases the negative consequences of stress on healthy eating. Taking into account that there is no effect of social support on Internet usage and since Internet usage does not moderate the relationship between stress and healthy eating, the paper continues to show that instead social support is a moderator for the relationship between stress and healthy eating. Interestingly however, Internet usage has a direct and positive relationship with healthy eating, i.e. the more the Internet is used the healthier do students eat. Thirdly, the paper elaborates on the question if students in Germany use the Internet as an information source for diet and health related problems for example on social media sites and additionally if the use of this information did change their dietary behavior. Results show that people with high dietary information search tendencies are 1.76 times more likely to change their diets due to the information found online. The results of this study are important for public policy measures dealing with student health.


Issue Date:
2014
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
PURL Identifier:
http://purl.umn.edu/166097
Total Pages:
31




 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-27

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