Help Privacy Policy Disclaimer
  Advanced SearchBrowse


  Cause or consequence?: Investigating attention bias and self-regulation skills in children at risk for obesity

Mehl, N., Bergmann, S., Klein, A. M., Daum, M. M., von Klitzing, K., & Horstmann, A. (2017). Cause or consequence?: Investigating attention bias and self-regulation skills in children at risk for obesity. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 155, 113-127. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2016.11.003.

Item is


show Files




Mehl, Nora1, 2, Author           
Bergmann, Sarah3, 4, Author
Klein, Annette Maria4, Author
Daum, Moritz M.5, Author           
von Klitzing, Kai4, Author
Horstmann, Annette1, 3, 6, Author           
1Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634549              
2MaxNetAging Research School, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, ou_persistent22              
3Integrated Research and Treatment Center Adiposity Diseases, University of Leipzig, Germany, ou_persistent22              
4Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics, University of Leipzig, Germany, ou_persistent22              
5Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Switzerland, ou_persistent22              
6Collaborative Research Center Obesity Mechanisms, Institute of Biochemistry, University of Leipzig, Germany, ou_persistent22              


Free keywords: Obesity; Childhood; Self-regulation; Attention bias; Emotion regulation
 Abstract: Impaired self-regulation, especially in food-specific situations, has been linked to childhood obesity. These deficits may be acquired during the development of obesity rather than being a prerequisite thereof. The current study hence focused on an at risk population vs. controls: Normal-weight children of obese and normal-weight parents were tested regarding attentional flexibility, emotion regulation and inhibitory control. 50 preschoolers of obese (n=25) or normal-weight parents (n=25) participated in this study. Through eye-tracking, attentional bias for food cues was measured during a visual probe task using food and toy images. Emotion regulation was assessed during a distress evoking task and inhibitory control was examined through a delay of gratification task. Both tasks are standardized and were conducted in non-food contexts. Results showed no significant group differences in overall attentional bias to food images over toy images. However, children of normal-weight parents showed a preference for toy images. Regarding emotion regulation, children in the risk group expressed significantly less overall emotional distress. Also, less gaze aversion and bodily sadness could be observed in this group. No differences were found for inhibitory control. Findings suggest that general deficits in self-regulation are not yet present in normal-weight children at risk for obesity. Instead, they might develop as a byproduct of unhealthy weight gain. Results indicate, however, that children of obese parents are less emotionally expressive compared to children of normal-weight parents. Further, children of normal-weight parents appeared more interested in toy images than in food images.


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2016-11-072016-05-182016-11-102016-12-202017-03
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1016/j.jecp.2016.11.003
PMID: 28006690
Other: Epub 2016
 Degree: -



Legal Case


Project information

show hide
Project name : -
Grant ID : 01E01001
Funding program : -
Funding organization : IFB Adiposity Diseases, German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Project name : Obesity Mechanisms / SFB 1052
Grant ID : -
Funding program : -
Funding organization : German Research Foundation (DFG)

Source 1

Title: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
  Other : J Exp Child Psychol
Source Genre: Journal
Publ. Info: Academic Press
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 155 Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 113 - 127 Identifier: ISSN: 0022-0965
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954922645034