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Title: Studies on the relationship between perimenstrual food craving, negative mood and serotonergic functioning
Author: Harper, Alison Anne
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1996
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The aim of this thesis was to elucidate the nature of food craving and to examine the relationship between perimenstrual negative mood and food craving. It also aimed to examine the effect of intake of craved foods on mood and to assess the likely causes for any mood change observed. A retrospective questionnaire study including data from over 750 subjects assessed the qualitative experience of food craving, its relationship to negative mood and its link with psychosocial factors known to influence both eating behaviour and reporting of perimenstrual negative mood. In contrast to the link between perimenstrual mood change and past and present emotional state, food craving was unrelated to these variables. Neither was it associated with body mass index, satisfaction with body image or eating restraint. Significant relationships were observed only with measures of emotional eating and with reporting of perimenstrual negative mood and physical discomfort. Qualitative analysis of food craving suggested intake of craved foods, 90% of which were reported to be for carbohydrate-rich foods, to produce transient improvement in mood which appeared linked to the taste of craved foods. In conclusion, these findings support the previously suggested link between negative mood and food craving and confirm cravings to be for carbohydrate-rich, fat-rich, protein-poor foods. The effect on mood following satisfaction of a craving however appears primarily linked to sensory pleasure rather than to biological changes in serotonergic functioning. Instead of reflecting an attempt to counteract reduced serotonergic activity, carbohydrate craving may simply reflect the propensity to comfort eat in response to emotional and physical discomfort. These conclusions are discussed with reference to the therapeutic effects of antidepressants on premenstrual symptomatology.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available