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Situation-Specific Social Norms as Mediators of Social Influence on Snacking

Schuz, B ORCID: 0000-0002-0801-498X, Papadakis, T and Ferguson, SG ORCID: 0000-0001-7378-3497 2017 , 'Situation-Specific Social Norms as Mediators of Social Influence on Snacking' , Health Psychology , pp. 1-7 , doi: 10.1037/hea0000568.

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Objective: Social factors are among the most powerful and pervasive influences on eating behavior,snacking in particular. Previous research has shown that being in the presence of people who are eatingsignificantly increases the likelihood of eating and affects the types as well as the amount of foodconsumed. Much less is known about the processes underlying social influence, but previous research hassuggested social norms as mediators. In this study, we extended this perspective to everyday settings andexamined whether the presence of other people eating leads to a change in perceived momentary norms,and whether this change predicts snack consumption in real life. Method: We applied ecologicalmomentary assessment to study 61 individuals in the normal– obese weight range (M BMI 24.97kg/m2; SD 4.07) over a 14-day monitoring period. We used a combination of event-based snackingreports and randomly timed assessments. The presence of others eating and momentary perceptions ofinjunctive norms (facets of perceived appropriateness and encouragement) were measured for bothassessment types. Results: Mediated, multilevel logistic regression showed that social cues predictsnacking (OR 3.06), and that momentary perceptions of appropriateness (ab 0.14) and encouragement(ab 0.18) partially mediated these effects. Conclusion: Perceptions of momentary normsmediated the effects of social influence on everyday snacking, which highlights the importance of thesocial environment for understanding eating behavior.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Schuz, B and Papadakis, T and Ferguson, SG
Keywords: snacking, obesity, health
Journal or Publication Title: Health Psychology
Publisher: American Psychological Association
ISSN: 0278-6133
DOI / ID Number: 10.1037/hea0000568
Copyright Information:

© 2017 American Psychological Association

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