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Personal and situational predictors of everyday snacking: An application of temporal self-regulation theory


Elliston, KG and Ferguson, SG and Schuez, B, Personal and situational predictors of everyday snacking: An application of temporal self-regulation theory, British journal of health psychology, 22, (4) pp. 854-871. ISSN 1359-107X (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2017 The British Psychological Society

DOI: doi:10.1111/bjhp.12259


Objectives: This study aims at testing predictions derived from temporal self-regulation theory (TST) in relation to discretionary food choices (snacks). TST combines a motivational sphere of influence (cognitions and temporal valuations resulting in intentions) with a momentary sphere (encompassing social and physical environmental cues). This dual approach differs from current health behaviour theories, but can potentially improve our understanding of the interplay of personal and environmental factors in health behaviour self-regulation.

Design: A mixed event-based and time-based (Ecological Momentary Assessment) study in 61 adults aged between 18 and 64, with a BMI range between 18.34 and 39.78 (M = 25.66, SD = 4.82) over two weeks.

Methods: Participants recorded their food and drink intake for two weeks in real time using electronic diaries. Participants also responded to non-consumption assessments at random intervals throughout each day. Momentary cues (individual, situational, and environmental factors) were assessed both during food logs and non-consumption assessments. Motivational factors, past behaviour, and trait self-regulation were assessed during baseline.

Results: Multilevel logistic regression analyses showed that across all snack types, environmental cues and negative affect were associated with an increased likelihood of snacking. Perceiving a cost of healthy eating to occur before eating was associated with an increased likelihood of snacking, whereas intentions and self-regulation were not.

Conclusions: Discretionary food intake is largely guided by momentary cues, and motivational-level factors, such as intention and self-regulation, are less important in the initiation of discretionary food intake.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:temporal self-regulation, snacking, EMA, health psychology, cued eating, ecological momentary assessment, food choices
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Clinical and health psychology
Research Field:Health psychology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Behaviour and health
UTAS Author:Elliston, KG (Ms Katherine Elliston)
UTAS Author:Ferguson, SG (Professor Stuart Ferguson)
UTAS Author:Schuez, B (Dr Benjamin Schuez)
ID Code:118778
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:15
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2017-07-19
Last Modified:2018-07-25

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