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The primary hypothesis of escape theory lies in that those who are under stress eat to escape from negative self-awareness. Although escape theory has been well cited in the eating literature, relatively few studies have directly tested its applicability to stress-induced eating. The aim of the present study is to provide causal evidence on using escape theory to explain the effect of stress on food intake. Specifically, we examined whether locus of control (LOC) and core self-evaluation (CSE) are serial mediators in the effect of stress on food intake. By a longitudinal experimental design, participants were randomly assigned to a stress group or a control group, and data on LOC, CSE, and food intake were collected at 3 waves. The results indicated that LOC and CSE are serial mediators in the effect of stress on food intake, though the direct effect of stress conditions remained significant. Our findings support the applicability of escape theory to interpret why stress increases food intake, and exclusion of LOC as an indicator of CSE. Thus, the present study provides causal evidence on escape theory by shedding light on the sequential mediating effect of LOC and CSE. Future research need to pay more attention to the evaluative process in stress-induced eating.
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The locus of control (LOC) construct has been associated with onset, course, and severity of anxiety and depression. We investigated the stability of LOC, the bidirectional relationships between LOC a...
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