Two Paths to Food Addiction: The Role of Impulsivity

Pownell, Erin (2014). Two Paths to Food Addiction: The Role of Impulsivity Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Pownell, Erin
Thesis Title Two Paths to Food Addiction: The Role of Impulsivity
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2014-10-08
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Natalie Loxton
Total pages 126
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Impulsivity has long been associated with substance addiction, despite disagreement regarding the personality trait’s structure. The two-factor theory (Dawe & Loxton, 2004) suggests that impulsivity is comprised of two constructs: reward drive (RD) and rash impulsivity (RI). RD is the purposeful drive to attain reward, whilst RI is conceptualised as disinhibition in response rewarding stimuli. Recently, the 2-Component Approach to Reinforcing Substances Model (2-CARS) (Gullo, Dawe, Kambouropoulos, Staiger, & Jackson, 2010) was applied to two-factor theory to hazardous alcohol use, demonstrating that there are two distinct paths from impulsivity to addiction mediated by cognitive processes. Recently, there has been an emergence of interest into the chronic and compulsive overconsumption of highly palatable calorie-dense foods (‘food addiction’) and the similarities between food addiction and other substance use. In light of this, the present study investigated whether the 2-CARS model translated to food addiction. It was predicted that the two impulsivity constructs would lead to food addiction via eating expectancies and eating style. One hundred and thirty-eight participants comprised of university students and adults from the community completed an online survey consisting of impulsivity, eating expectancies, eating style and food addiction measures. Structural equation modelling revealed the hypothesised model was not supported. Further exploration of theoretically plausible models revealed the relationship between impulsivity and food addiction is more complex than hypothesised. However, significant indirect effects were found from both factors of impulsivity to food addiction in the final model. Results support RD and RI as separate factors of impulsivity and have practical implications for obesity prevention and treatment.
Keyword Food addiction

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Created: Wed, 29 Apr 2015, 11:34:11 EST by Anita Whybrow on behalf of School of Psychology