Resisting temptation of unhealthy food: Interaction between temptation-elicited goal activation and self-control

Haynes, A, Kemps, E, Moffitt, R and Mohr, P 2014, 'Resisting temptation of unhealthy food: Interaction between temptation-elicited goal activation and self-control', Motivation and Emotion, vol. 38, no. 4, pp. 485-495.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Resisting temptation of unhealthy food: Interaction between temptation-elicited goal activation and self-control
Author(s) Haynes, A
Kemps, E
Moffitt, R
Mohr, P
Year 2014
Journal name Motivation and Emotion
Volume number 38
Issue number 4
Start page 485
End page 495
Total pages 11
Publisher Springer New York LLC
Abstract Counteractive control theory suggests that the cognitive accessibility of a goal in response to a temptation cue predicts self-regulation of behaviour consistent with that goal. The current study provided a novel test of this effect in the eating domain, exploring the moderating role of trait self-control. A sample of 124 women (18-25 years) completed a lexical decision task to assess cognitive accessibility of the weight-management goal after food temptation priming. Eating self-regulation was operationalised as unhealthy snack food intake measured in a task disguised as a taste-test. Participants completed trait self-control and temptation experience intensity measures. Cognitive accessibility predicted lower food intake, but only among high self-control participants. The relationship was mediated by temptation experience intensity: participants with high cognitive accessibility felt less tempted, and subsequently ate less food. Results suggest that changing the processes underlying the temptation experience, rather than the cognitive accessibility of a goal may more effectively enhance self-regulation among low self-control individuals.
Subject Sport and Exercise Psychology
Educational Psychology
Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Keyword(s) Counteractive control theory
Food intake
Self-control
Self-regulation
Weight-management goal
DOI - identifier 10.1007/s11031-014-9393-6
Copyright notice © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014
ISSN 0146-7239
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