Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Diana Rancourt, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas Brandon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Chad Dube, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rob Schlauch, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Brent Small, Ph.D.


cue-reactivity, disordered eating, food craving


Recent research suggests that food craving is a motivational process underlying the full spectrum of disordered eating behaviors. The ambivalence model of craving, originally applied to substance use craving, provides a framework through which the push-pull motivational process of food craving and its relation to the range of disordered eating behaviors can be understood. In this perspective, food craving is a multi-dimensional motivational process that involves an individual’s competing desires to both consume (i.e., approach) and not consume (i.e., avoid) certain food. Building on previous literature, the current study tested whether behavioral measures of approach and avoidance food craving (i.e., reaction time) differentially and more strongly predicted the spectrum of disordered eating behaviors compared to traditional self-report measures. Participants (N = 240; 67% female, age M = 19.79 years) were recruited from the University of South Florida SONA participant pool and completed a dual food cue-reactivity paradigm and self-report measures of hunger, food craving, and disordered eating in an online environment. Inconsistent with hypotheses, reaction time data from Go/No-Go and Approach-Avoidance Tasks were not predictive of self-reported disordered eating behaviors; however, self-reported measures of food craving were associated with the spectrum of self-reported disordered eating behaviors. Findings highlight that the subjective experience of food craving may be more salient to disordered eating behaviors than objective experiences of food craving.