Perception of daily stress and oral coping behaviors in normal, overweight, and recovering alcoholic women

Authors

  • Sharon N. Rosenfield,

    1. Ms. Rosenfield, M.S., R.N., is an Instructor and Joanne S. Stevenson, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., is a professor in the Department of Life Span Process, College of Nursing, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.
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  • Joanne S. Stevenson

    1. Ms. Rosenfield, M.S., R.N., is an Instructor and Joanne S. Stevenson, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., is a professor in the Department of Life Span Process, College of Nursing, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

One method of coping with perceived stress is the use of oral behaviors (e.g., eating, drinking, smoking). This study addressed the influence of perceived daily stress level (day rated as pleasant, neutral, or unpleasant) on oral behaviors in three groups of women, aged 25 to 45. Subjects included 37 female normal alcohol users of normal weight, 23 recovering alcoholics of normal weight, and 37 normal alcohol users who were 25% to 100% overweight. The normals responded to daily stress levels by changing their oral behaviors in predictable and consistent ways. On unpleasant days, the normals and the recovering alcoholic women ate more sweet, starchy, and salty/spicy foods. The overweight women ate more food, especially salty/spicy and sweet foods regardless of the type of day. The alcoholic women desired alcohol and smoked more than the other two groups all the time. Hence, the alcoholics and overweight women desired to or engaged in their habituated oral behaviors regardless of fluctuating daily stress levels.

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