Perseverative cognition and snack choice: an online pilot investigation

Timothy M. Eschle*, Dane McCarrick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Perseverative cognition (PC), consisting of worry and rumination, has been consistently linked to a variety of poorer health outcomes, namely via the worsening of stress-induced health risk behaviours. However, research into PC and unhealthy food choice, a key health behaviour, still remains relatively unexplored. In the current pilot investigation, 284 participants were recruited to take part in an online food choice paradigm before completing the Perseverative Thinking Questionnaire (PTQ) and the Brief State Rumination Inventory (BSRI). As a reduced availability of unhealthy snacks has been shown to improve snack choice, participants were randomly allocated to either an even condition (a 3:3 ratio of ≤99 kcal and ≥199 kcal snacks) or an uneven condition (a 4:2 ratio in favour of ≤99 kcal snacks). It was hypothesized that higher levels of PC may predict greater instances of poorer snack choices across, or even within, this paradigm. Despite an increase availability of lower calorie snacks leading to a healthier snack choice, both state and trait PC measures did not significantly influence snack choice irrespective of this varying availability. Although, marginal trends were found for higher state PC and higher calorie crisp selections. The current pilot therefore adds to the growing literature advocating for the use of behavioural economic tactics to engender healthier food choices, yet further work is needed to unpick the mediating role of PC (and its components) in snack consumption paradigms.
Original languageEnglish
Article number33
Number of pages13
JournalBehavioral Sciences
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • perseverative cognition
  • rumination
  • stress
  • food choice
  • obesity

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