Predicting College Students' Food Intake With Measures of Executive Functioning

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Elliott, Christine Claire
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Middle Tennessee State University
The purpose of this study was to investigate how, and to what extent, dimensions of executive functioning (EF) predict college students' food intake based on US Department of Agriculture's proportion food groups, namely, fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, protein, and fats/sweets. Ninety-eight participants were administered a self-report EF measure, the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-Adult Version (BRIEF-A; Guy, Isquith, & Gioia, 2005), which assesses EF behavior regulation and metacognitive skills. In addition, two clinical measures of EF were administered, the Tempe Sorting Task (Marshall, Wodrich, & Gorin, 2009), a measure of EF inhibition, and Digit Span, which is a working memory subtest of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV; Wechsler, 2008). To obtain a measure of food intake, participants were also administered the Personal Wellness Profile (PWP; Wellsource Inc., 1998). Results indicated that self-ratings of EF behavior regulation and metacognitive skills successfully predicted food intake scores. EF metacognitive skills appeared to be a better predictor of food intake when compared to EF behavior regulation. In comparison to the predictive ability of the EF rating scale, the clinical measures were not associated with food intake. There was an absence of significant added value of EF clinical measures when rating scale scores already existed.