Beyond taste and healthiness: establishing the importance and stability of diverse motives for eating and drinking

Werner, Johanna Dorothea Ursula (2022) Beyond taste and healthiness: establishing the importance and stability of diverse motives for eating and drinking. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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To tackle some of the most pressing challenges of our time, the obesity epidemic and climate change, novel interventions, regulations and public policies are needed to help people shift towards healthier and more sustainable diets. To achieve this goal, it is essential to first fully understand how eating and drinking, both highly complex, multifaceted behaviours, are influenced by internal and external factors. Previous research has typically used unsituated self-report measures at a single timepoint to identify and establish the importance of diverse consumption motives (e.g., habit, health, liking etc.) by averaging across participants, simply presuming relative stability across individuals, eating occasion and time. Consequently, there is a gap in the literature of the underlying intra- and individual differences in food and beverage consumption motivation patterns and their stability across different domains. This thesis’ objective is to add to the understanding of consumption motivations, by establishing diverse motives for food and beverage consumption, assessing their stability across eating occasion, time beverages and foods, and exploring intra- and individual differences, using a situated measuring approach.

Chapter 2 establishes a seven-factor framework predicting the consumption frequency of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Findings show that predictive patterns remain remarkably stable across individual beverages. In contrast, large individual differences occur across participants’ predictive patterns, although habit emerged consistently as important. Lastly, participants differ greatly in their perception of the different beverages.

Chapter 3 presents the results of three separate studies with the overarching aim to establish individual’s predictive patterns for their consumption frequency and desire of situated foods and beverages and to assess the stability of those patterns across different eating occasions. Study 1 establishes an extensive sample of foods consumed in eight different eating situations in the UK. Study 2 identifies the relevant underlying motives predicting consumption frequency and desire. Lastly, Study 3’s results demonstrate (again) large individual differences across individual’s predictive patterns, again with the exception of automaticity which was important for both consumption frequency and desire across participants. Remarkably, findings indicate that individual’s predictive patterns remain stable across eating occasions. Little agreement was found between what participants believed to influence their consumption and SAM2s predictive profiles, potentially indicating that participants have little insight into what predicts their consumption.

The empirical work presented in Chapter 4 expands on the findings in Chapter 3 by assessing consumption motivations of diverse food groups across a two-week timespan. Findings show the occurrence of learning effects for some of the predictors, meaning the association between consumption and the predictors increases overtime. In contrast, consumption motivations remain stable over time. As in Chapter 3 and 4 large individual differences occur in predictive patterns as well as participants perception of the diverse food groups, although (again) automaticity emerges as most important across participants. Lastly, again little agreement was found between what participants believed to predict their consumption and SAM2s findings.

Finally, in Chapter 5 the key theoretical and practical implications of this work are discussed, particularly in how the findings relate back to the grounded cognition theory and the wider literature. Lastly, the strength and limitations of the empirical work are presented, and potential future research avenues reviewed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
College of Science and Engineering
Supervisor's Name: Barsalou, Professor Lawrence
Date of Award: 2022
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2022-83595
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 18 May 2023 15:50
Last Modified: 18 May 2023 15:50
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83595
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