Understanding decision-making processes for sugar consumption in adolescence

Ruth Freeman (Lead / Corresponding author), Aubrey Sheiham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The mechanisms by which adolescents make food choices are not clear. The interaction and combination of the many social and psychological factors must be considered when examining adolescents' decision-making processes for sound food choices. The aim of this investigation is to examine one specific food choice, namely, the use of sucrose in hot drinks. One hundred and eighty-seven adolescents in their 16th year completed a questionnaire on the consumption of sugar using the method developed by AJZEN & FISHBEIN in their 'Theory of Reasoned Action'. The group was randomly divided into two groups so that decision-making processes with respect to two behavioural intentions - adding sugar to tea and coffee and excluding it - could be examined. The findings suggest that the immediate pleasurable taste of sugar outweighed and deferred the recognition of dangers associated with its consumption. Past dental health experiences, behaviours and education together with the role of parental figures acted as important influences. An awareness of these factors should assist dental health professionals to highlight the importance of sound food choices when negotiating dental health goals with adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-232
Number of pages5
JournalCommunity Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1997


  • Adolescence
  • Decision-making
  • Sugar consumption
  • Theory of reasoned action

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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