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Mixed selection : Effects of body images, dietary restraint, and persuasive messages on females' orientations towards chocolate

Durkin, Kevin and Hendry, Alana and Stritzke, Werner G. K. (2013) Mixed selection : Effects of body images, dietary restraint, and persuasive messages on females' orientations towards chocolate. Appetite, 60. pp. 95-102. ISSN 0195-6663

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Abstract

Many women experience ambivalent reactions to chocolate: craving it but also wary of its impact on weight and health. Chocolate advertisements often use thin ideal models and previous research indicates that this exacerbates ambivalence. This experiment compared attitudes to, and consumption of, chocolate following exposure to images containing thin or overweight models together with written messages that were either positive or negative about eating chocolate. Participants (all female) were categorised as either low- or high-restraint. Approach, avoidance and guilt motives towards chocolate were measured and the participants had an opportunity to consume chocolate. Exposure to thin ideal models led to higher approach motives and this effect was most marked among the high restraint participants. Avoidance and guilt scores did not vary as a function of model size or message, but there were clear differences between the restraint groups, with the high restraint participants scoring substantially higher than low restraint participants on both of these measures. When the participants were provided with an opportunity to eat some chocolate, those with high restraint who had been exposed to the thin models consumed the most.