U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Appetite 68 (2013) 30–37


This article is a U.S. government work, and is not subject to copyright in the United States.


Loss of control eating confers risk for excess weight gain and exacerbated disordered eating. Affect theory proposes that loss of control eating is used to cope with negative mood states. Self-report data suggest that negative affect may contribute to the etiology of loss of control eating, but this theory has not been well-tested using laboratory paradigms. We examined associations between pre-meal affective states and intake during a laboratory test meal. One-hundred and ten adolescent girls with reported loss of control eating whose body mass index fell between the 75th and 97th percentile for age and sex completed state mood ratings prior to a test-meal. Results indicated that pre-meal state negative affect was associated with greater carbohydrate and less protein consumption, as well as greater snack and dessert and less fruit and dairy intake. All girls experienced significant decreases in negative affect from pre- to post-meal, but intake during the meal was unassociated with post-meal affect. In support of affect theory, negative affective states reported among girls with loss of control may be a driving factor for increased energy-dense food intake, which may play a role in excess weight gain.