The effect of a single, brief practice of progressive muscle relaxation after exposure to an acute stressor on subsequent energy intake
Masih, T.; Dimmock, J.A.; Guelfi, K.J.
Stress and Health Journal of the International Society for the Investigation of Stress 35(5): 595-606
Given previous research suggests an association between stress and the intake of energy-dense foods, this study investigated whether poststressor relaxation practice can attenuate stress-induced eating. Twenty-five men and women were exposed to four conditions on separate days: an acute laboratory stressor (S), acute stressor followed by 20 min of relaxation (SR) in the form of Abbreviated Progressive Muscle Relaxation (APMR), relaxation alone (R), and a control condition (C). Physiological and psychological responses to stress and relaxation were assessed, in addition to the subsequent energy intake of high-energy snacks. Salivary cortisol, blood pressure, heart rate, and perceived stress were transiently elevated postlaboratory stressor (S and SR compared with R and C; p < .05). Meanwhile, perceived relaxation was acutely enhanced after APMR alone (R) compared with S, SR, and C (p < .05) and in SR (immediately after the APMR) compared with S (p < .05). No difference in mean energy intake was observed between conditions (p > .05). Likewise, no differences in perceived appetite or the levels of ghrelin, leptin, and insulin were found between conditions (p > .05). Much variation exists in stress-induced dietary responses, and APMR either postacute stressor or in isolation does not appear to consistently alter the intake of commonly eaten snacks.