Emotion-driven impulsiveness and snack food consumption of European adolescents: Results from the I.Family study

Juul M J Coumans, Unna N. Danner, Timm Intemann, Annelies De Decker, Charalambos Hadjigeorgiou, Monica Hunsberger, Luis A. Moreno, Paola Russo, Sarolta Stomfai, Toomas Veidebaum, Roger A H Adan, Antje Hebestreit,

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We aimed to investigate the association between emotion-driven impulsiveness and snack food consumption in 1039 European adolescents aged 12-18 years. During the cross-sectional examination in 2013/2014, complete information was collected on: emotion-driven impulsiveness (using the negative urgency subscale from the Urgency, Premeditation, Perseverance, Sensation seeking, and Positive urgency (UPPS-P) Impulsive Behaviour Scale) and snacking behaviour operationalised as 1) consumption frequency of daily snacks, 2) consumption frequency of energy-dense snacks (both measured using Food Frequency Questionnaire) and 3) usual energy intake of food consumed per snacking occasion in calories. The latter was measured using online self-administered 24-h dietary recalls and was estimated based on the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Method. Anthropometric variables were measured and BMI z-score (zBMI) calculated. Age, sex, highest education level of the family and country of residence were assessed using a questionnaire. Mixed-effect regression analyses were separately conducted for each snacking behaviour outcome with emotion-driven impulsiveness as the exposure. After controlling for zBMI, age, sex, country and socioeconomic status, emotion-driven impulsiveness was positively associated with daily consumption frequency of snacks (β = 0.07, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) [0.02, 0.12]) and consumption frequency of energy-dense snacks (β = 0.25, 95% CI [0.19, 0.31]), but not with usual energy intake of food per snacking (β = 2.52, 95% CI [-0.55, 5.59]). Adolescents with a stronger emotion-driven impulsiveness tendency reported a higher snacking frequency and specifically more energy-dense snacks, whereas the energy intake of snack food seemed less important. These findings have implications for obesity prevention and treatment as they indicate the importance of targeting emotion-driven impulsiveness as a strategy to avoid excessive snacking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-159
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • Body mass index
  • Children
  • Energy-dense snacks
  • Europe
  • Negative urgency
  • Snacking frequency


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