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Keywords:

  • addiction;
  • chocolate;
  • depression

Abstract

Objective

Drug addicts in general can be distinguished from nonaddicts by their affective and physiological and craving responses to drug-related cues. The purpose of this study was to examine similar affective, physiological, and behavioral variables in chocolate “addicts” and control subjects.

Method

Sixteen addicts and 15 control subjects took part in two laboratory experiments in which their heart rate, salivation, and self-reported responses were measured.

Results

In the presence of external chocolate cues, chocolate addicts were more aroused, reported greater cravings, experienced more negative affect, and also ate more chocolate than control subjects. Self-report measures on eating attitudes and behavior, body image, and depression confirmed that a relationship exists between “chocolate addiction” and problem eating. Chocolate addicts showed more aberrant eating behaviors and attitudes than controls, and were also significantly more depressed.

Discussion

Chocolate addicts may be considered to be a parallel with addicts generally, because they differ from controls in craving for chocolate, eating behavior, and psychopathology (in respect of eating and affect). © 1999 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 25: 169–175, 1999.