Effects of thought suppression on eating behaviour in restrained and non-restrained eaters
Recent research has shown that suppressing food related thoughts can cause a subsequent increase in consumption relative to groups not suppressing, or thinking about food. The present study examined whether the effects of thought suppression on subsequent eating behaviour would interact with participants restrained eating status. One hundred and sixteen female participants were split into three groups. One third suppressed thoughts of chocolate, one third thought about chocolate and the final third thought about anything they wished. Following this, participants took part in a task where they rated two brands of chocolate on several taste characteristics. Participants were unaware that the dependent variable was the amount of chocolate consumed and not taste preference. Participants also completed measures of dietary restraint, craving, guilt and thought suppression. Results indicated that restrained eaters in the suppression condition consumed significantly more chocolate than restrained eaters in the expression or control condition. Participants low on restraint ate statistically equivalent amounts in all three groups. In addition, participants reporting frequent use of thought suppression (assessed by the White Bear Suppression Inventory) reported greater chocolate cravings.