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Type: Thesis
Title: Understanding snacking: the role of personality and habit strength
Author: Mercorella, Sarah A
Issue Date: 2020
School/Discipline: School of Psychology
Abstract: Snacking, or eating in-between main meals, especially the consumption of snacks high in fat, salt and/or sugar is a major contributor to excessive energy-intake and long-term weight gain. Previous research has explored the predictors of unhealthy snacking, including personality traits. However, there is a need to investigate potential explanatory variables such as reasons for snacking, and habit strength that may explain these associations. In this study, we explored the relationship between personality traits, habit strength, and snacking motivations and behaviours. Participants included 230 Australian adults (Male 26%; Female 71%; Other 3%) aged 18-77 who completed an online survey. Survey items assessed personality traits (The Big Five Inventory 2); habit strength (the Self-Report Habit Index); reasons for snacking (the Eating Motivation Scale), and snacking behaviour (the Snack Frequency Questionnaire; Snack Preference Task). Correlation and multiple regression analyses were run to explore the relationships: (a) between respondents’ reasons for snacking and personality traits; (b) habit strength on snacking behaviours; and (c) between personality and habit strength and the reasons for snacking. The results indicated that personality traits and reasons for snacking predicted the quantity and quality of both momentary and habitual snack choices. In particular, the results indicated different snacking pathways based on personality and reasons for snacking, with traits such as conscientiousness being associated with healthy adaptive snacking motivations and choices, and neuroticism being associated with more emotion-driven and less healthy snack choices.
Dissertation Note: Thesis (B.PsychSc(Hons)) -- University of Adelaide, School of Psychology, 2020
Keywords: Honours; Psychology
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