Trait-level facets of impulsivity and momentary, naturalistic eating behavior in children and adolescents with overweight/obesity

Andrea B. Goldschmidt*, Kathryn E. Smith, Jason M. Lavender, Scott G. Engel, Alissa Haedt-Matt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Impulsivity, and specific subdomains of inhibitory control and reward sensitivity, are trait-level factors that have been implicated in the onset and maintenance of pediatric obesity and disordered eating, but their associations with real-world eating behavior are unknown. We investigated associations of these trait-level constructs with naturalistic, momentary measures of loss of control (LOC) eating and overeating severity in a heterogeneous sample of youth (n = 40), aged 8-14y, with overweight/obesity. Self-report, parent-report, and behavioral data on trait-level impulsivity, reward sensitivity, and inhibitory control, respectively, were collected in the context of a 14-day ecological momentary assessment (EMA) protocol in which participants reported on their eating behavior, mood, hunger, and palatability of foods consumed in real-time. Generalized estimating equations revealed that more perseverative errors on a behavioral measure of visuomotor processing speed and a lower self-reported tendency to act without thinking (at a trend level) were related to greater overall LOC severity. Momentary associations between negative affect and LOC severity were stronger among individuals with greater perseverative errors. Results suggest that trait-level facets of impulsivity may directly influence an individual's tendency to engage in dysregulated eating behaviors, and may also impact susceptibility to state-level factors associated with occurrence of these behaviors. Momentary interventions for LOC eating may require tailoring to address temperamental factors related to impulsivity and inhibitory control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-30
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
StatePublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • Impulsivity
  • Loss of control eating
  • Obesity
  • Overeating
  • Reward sensitivity


Dive into the research topics of 'Trait-level facets of impulsivity and momentary, naturalistic eating behavior in children and adolescents with overweight/obesity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this