AN EXPERIMENTAL STUDY OF THE EFFECTS OF TRAINING PROGRAMS ON CHILDREN'S EATING BEHAVIOR

HARRIET KELLMAN GORDON, Fordham University

Abstract

Schachter has proposed a cognitive theory of cue salience of eating behavior which implies that obese individuals eat because of external cues, such as the availability of food, while normal weight individuals eat because of internal physiological conditions such as hunger. The purpose of the present study was to test Schachter's assumptions by attempting to create a condition of internal awareness in obese individuals. If obese individuals are cued to eat by the salience of food and that response occurs because they do not attend to internal physiological cues, then making them aware of their own internal cues should produce eating behavior that is appropriately cued by internal cues. At a practical level the study attempted an innovative design for early intervention of pathological eating patterns.^ The hypotheses advanced were that eating behaviors could be changed by making individuals aware of their own body needs. One hundred and eighty-four suburban school children, aged ten to twelve participated in the study. In the first part of the study, Experiment I, a pilot study tested the effects of being in a group against being without peers present, on eating behavior, the efficacy of the treatment, and the differences in eating behaviors of individuals exposed to packaged and unpackaged candy. The second part of the study, Experiment II delineated the effectiveness of the body awareness treatment (the treatment intended to make external, obese individuals aware of their body cues), the cue salience of the packaged or unpackaged candy, and whether the treatment was more effective on obese or normal weight individuals.^ Results of Experiment I indicated that the presence of others, or the absence of others had no effect on eating behavior. There were, as hypothesized differential effects for normal weight and obese individuals, packaged and unpackaged candy and treatment or no treatment. In Experiment II, although obese children ate more candies than normal weight children, the body awareness treatment was effective for both groups, as measured by the reduced number of candies eaten after that treatment. It was demonstrated that a cognitive approach to this aspect of eating behavior has at least a short term value. ^

Subject Area

Experimental psychology

Recommended Citation

GORDON, HARRIET KELLMAN, "AN EXPERIMENTAL STUDY OF THE EFFECTS OF TRAINING PROGRAMS ON CHILDREN'S EATING BEHAVIOR" (1982). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8219242.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8219242

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