Examining personality and task-based measures of impulsivity in relation to obesity and food addiction
Vanderbroek, Lauren Ann
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There is increasing interest in impulsivity as a determinant of obesity, but with mixed findings. “Food addiction” (FA), a more proximal eating variable, may strengthen this link in a way that parallels drug addiction. The current study sought to examine interrelationships among impulsivity (multiply-defined), obesity, and FA to better understand how these constructs operate independently and together. Community- and university-recruited adults (N = 181) of all weight classes completed a biometric screening to generate Body Mass Index (BMI), the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS) to capture addiction-like eating behavior, and self-report and task-based measures of impulsivity. The results generally suggested stronger zero-order associations between the impulsivity indices and YFAS than BMI, and supported FA as a presumptive mediator connecting the impulsivity variables and obesity. Food addiction may be one potential pathway to obesity for impulsive individuals.