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Stress Eating and the Consequences

Elissa Epel is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at University of California, San Francisco. She will be speaking at the 24th APS Annual Convention in Chicago, Illinois, USA in the cross-cutting theme program “Biological Beings in a Social Context.” Watch as she describes the relationship between events of stress and how we choose to eat and discusses strategies for becoming more resilient and acquiring useful skills to control behavior.

Nature “versus” nurture? Not anymore! In today’s psychological science, they’re on the same team. Research reveals the interdependencies among biological systems and social contexts. Environmental and interpersonal factors influence the expression of genes, the development of the brain, and the growth of the individual from the beginnings of life. In this theme program, speakers present cutting-edge advances in the study of biological beings in social context.

Epel’s research examines relationships among chronic stress, social status, coping processes, and neuroendocrine and metabolic sequelae. Her work examins questions such as: Does type of stress response (psychological, neuroendocrine/peptide) help determine why some people eat less during stress whereas others eat more? Does chronic stress really lead to abdominal fat distribution and insulin resistance? Drive for calorically dense food? Do stress and obesity accelerate aging of mitotic cells? Lastly, she is interested in mechanisms through which stress reduction may lead to improvements in metabolic health.

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