Abstract

Background: Studies have examined the associations between emotions and overeating but have only rarely considered associations between emotions and specific food choices. The purpose of this secondary data analysis was to use mobile ecological momentary assessments (mEMAs) to examine associations between emotions and food choices among first-year college students living in residence halls. Methods: Using an intensive repeated-measures design, mEMAs were used to assess concurrent emotions and food choices in a racially/ethnically diverse sample of first-year college students (n = 663). Emotions were categorized as negative (sad, stressed, tired), positive (happy, energized, relaxed), and apathetic (bored, meh). Assessments were completed multiple times per day on four quasi-randomly selected days (three random weekdays and one random weekend day) during a 7-day period using random prompt times. Generalized estimating equations (GEE) were used to examine between- and within-person associations of emotional status with a variety of healthy and unhealthy food choices (sweets, salty snacks/fried foods, fruits/vegetables, pizza/fast food, sandwiches/wraps, meats/proteins, pasta/rice, cereals), adjusting for gender, day of week, and time of day, accounting for within-person dependencies among repeated measurements of eating behavior. Results: At the between-person level, participants who reported positive emotions more frequently compared to others consumed meats/proteins more often (OR = 1.8; 99% CI = 1.2, 2.8). At the within-person level, on occasions when any negative emotion was reported (versus no negative emotion reported) participants were more likely to consume meats/proteins (OR = 1.5, 99% CI = 1.0, 2.1); on occasions when any positive emotion was reported as compared to occasions with no positive emotions, participants were more likely to consume sweets (OR = 1.7, 99% CI = 1.1, 2.6), but less likely to consume pizza/fast food (OR = 0.6, 99% CI = 0.4, 1.0). Conclusions: Negative and positive emotions were significantly associated with food choices. mEMA methodology provides a unique opportunity to examine these associations within and between people, providing insights for individual and population-level interventions. These findings can be used to guide future longitudinal studies and to develop and test interventions that encourage healthy food choices among first-year college students and ultimately reduce the risk of weight gain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number573
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2 2018

Fingerprint

Emotions
Students
Food
Meat
Fast Foods
Ecological Momentary Assessment
Hyperphagia
Snacks
Proteins
Feeding Behavior
Vegetables
Weight Gain
Longitudinal Studies
Fruit
Population

Keywords

  • Eating behaviors
  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • Emerging adults
  • Emotion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

The Association among Emotions and Food Choices in First-Year College Students Using mobile-Ecological Momentary Assessments. / Ashurst, Jessica; Van Woerden, Irene; Dunton, Genevieve; Todd, Michael; Ohri-Vachaspati, Punam; Swan, Pamela; Bruening, Meredith.

In: BMC Public Health, Vol. 18, No. 1, 573, 02.05.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "Background: Studies have examined the associations between emotions and overeating but have only rarely considered associations between emotions and specific food choices. The purpose of this secondary data analysis was to use mobile ecological momentary assessments (mEMAs) to examine associations between emotions and food choices among first-year college students living in residence halls. Methods: Using an intensive repeated-measures design, mEMAs were used to assess concurrent emotions and food choices in a racially/ethnically diverse sample of first-year college students (n = 663). Emotions were categorized as negative (sad, stressed, tired), positive (happy, energized, relaxed), and apathetic (bored, meh). Assessments were completed multiple times per day on four quasi-randomly selected days (three random weekdays and one random weekend day) during a 7-day period using random prompt times. Generalized estimating equations (GEE) were used to examine between- and within-person associations of emotional status with a variety of healthy and unhealthy food choices (sweets, salty snacks/fried foods, fruits/vegetables, pizza/fast food, sandwiches/wraps, meats/proteins, pasta/rice, cereals), adjusting for gender, day of week, and time of day, accounting for within-person dependencies among repeated measurements of eating behavior. Results: At the between-person level, participants who reported positive emotions more frequently compared to others consumed meats/proteins more often (OR = 1.8; 99{\%} CI = 1.2, 2.8). At the within-person level, on occasions when any negative emotion was reported (versus no negative emotion reported) participants were more likely to consume meats/proteins (OR = 1.5, 99{\%} CI = 1.0, 2.1); on occasions when any positive emotion was reported as compared to occasions with no positive emotions, participants were more likely to consume sweets (OR = 1.7, 99{\%} CI = 1.1, 2.6), but less likely to consume pizza/fast food (OR = 0.6, 99{\%} CI = 0.4, 1.0). Conclusions: Negative and positive emotions were significantly associated with food choices. mEMA methodology provides a unique opportunity to examine these associations within and between people, providing insights for individual and population-level interventions. These findings can be used to guide future longitudinal studies and to develop and test interventions that encourage healthy food choices among first-year college students and ultimately reduce the risk of weight gain.",
keywords = "Eating behaviors, Ecological momentary assessment, Emerging adults, Emotion",
author = "Jessica Ashurst and {Van Woerden}, Irene and Genevieve Dunton and Michael Todd and Punam Ohri-Vachaspati and Pamela Swan and Meredith Bruening",
year = "2018",
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T1 - The Association among Emotions and Food Choices in First-Year College Students Using mobile-Ecological Momentary Assessments

AU - Ashurst, Jessica

AU - Van Woerden, Irene

AU - Dunton, Genevieve

AU - Todd, Michael

AU - Ohri-Vachaspati, Punam

AU - Swan, Pamela

AU - Bruening, Meredith

PY - 2018/5/2

Y1 - 2018/5/2

N2 - Background: Studies have examined the associations between emotions and overeating but have only rarely considered associations between emotions and specific food choices. The purpose of this secondary data analysis was to use mobile ecological momentary assessments (mEMAs) to examine associations between emotions and food choices among first-year college students living in residence halls. Methods: Using an intensive repeated-measures design, mEMAs were used to assess concurrent emotions and food choices in a racially/ethnically diverse sample of first-year college students (n = 663). Emotions were categorized as negative (sad, stressed, tired), positive (happy, energized, relaxed), and apathetic (bored, meh). Assessments were completed multiple times per day on four quasi-randomly selected days (three random weekdays and one random weekend day) during a 7-day period using random prompt times. Generalized estimating equations (GEE) were used to examine between- and within-person associations of emotional status with a variety of healthy and unhealthy food choices (sweets, salty snacks/fried foods, fruits/vegetables, pizza/fast food, sandwiches/wraps, meats/proteins, pasta/rice, cereals), adjusting for gender, day of week, and time of day, accounting for within-person dependencies among repeated measurements of eating behavior. Results: At the between-person level, participants who reported positive emotions more frequently compared to others consumed meats/proteins more often (OR = 1.8; 99% CI = 1.2, 2.8). At the within-person level, on occasions when any negative emotion was reported (versus no negative emotion reported) participants were more likely to consume meats/proteins (OR = 1.5, 99% CI = 1.0, 2.1); on occasions when any positive emotion was reported as compared to occasions with no positive emotions, participants were more likely to consume sweets (OR = 1.7, 99% CI = 1.1, 2.6), but less likely to consume pizza/fast food (OR = 0.6, 99% CI = 0.4, 1.0). Conclusions: Negative and positive emotions were significantly associated with food choices. mEMA methodology provides a unique opportunity to examine these associations within and between people, providing insights for individual and population-level interventions. These findings can be used to guide future longitudinal studies and to develop and test interventions that encourage healthy food choices among first-year college students and ultimately reduce the risk of weight gain.

AB - Background: Studies have examined the associations between emotions and overeating but have only rarely considered associations between emotions and specific food choices. The purpose of this secondary data analysis was to use mobile ecological momentary assessments (mEMAs) to examine associations between emotions and food choices among first-year college students living in residence halls. Methods: Using an intensive repeated-measures design, mEMAs were used to assess concurrent emotions and food choices in a racially/ethnically diverse sample of first-year college students (n = 663). Emotions were categorized as negative (sad, stressed, tired), positive (happy, energized, relaxed), and apathetic (bored, meh). Assessments were completed multiple times per day on four quasi-randomly selected days (three random weekdays and one random weekend day) during a 7-day period using random prompt times. Generalized estimating equations (GEE) were used to examine between- and within-person associations of emotional status with a variety of healthy and unhealthy food choices (sweets, salty snacks/fried foods, fruits/vegetables, pizza/fast food, sandwiches/wraps, meats/proteins, pasta/rice, cereals), adjusting for gender, day of week, and time of day, accounting for within-person dependencies among repeated measurements of eating behavior. Results: At the between-person level, participants who reported positive emotions more frequently compared to others consumed meats/proteins more often (OR = 1.8; 99% CI = 1.2, 2.8). At the within-person level, on occasions when any negative emotion was reported (versus no negative emotion reported) participants were more likely to consume meats/proteins (OR = 1.5, 99% CI = 1.0, 2.1); on occasions when any positive emotion was reported as compared to occasions with no positive emotions, participants were more likely to consume sweets (OR = 1.7, 99% CI = 1.1, 2.6), but less likely to consume pizza/fast food (OR = 0.6, 99% CI = 0.4, 1.0). Conclusions: Negative and positive emotions were significantly associated with food choices. mEMA methodology provides a unique opportunity to examine these associations within and between people, providing insights for individual and population-level interventions. These findings can be used to guide future longitudinal studies and to develop and test interventions that encourage healthy food choices among first-year college students and ultimately reduce the risk of weight gain.

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KW - Ecological momentary assessment

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