Depletion sensitivity predicts unhealthy snack purchases

Stefanie J. Salmon*, Marieke A. Adriaanse, Bob M. Fennis, Emely De Vet, Denise T.D. De Ridder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of the present research is to examine the relation between depletion sensitivity - a novel construct referring to the speed or ease by which one's self-control resources are drained - and snack purchase behavior. In addition, interactions between depletion sensitivity and the goal to lose weight on snack purchase behavior were explored. Participants included in the study were instructed to report every snack they bought over the course of one week. The dependent variables were the number of healthy and unhealthy snacks purchased. The results of the present study demonstrate that depletion sensitivity predicts the amount of unhealthy (but not healthy) snacks bought. The more sensitive people are to depletion, the more unhealthy snacks they buy. Moreover, there was some tentative evidence that this relation is more pronounced for people with a weak as opposed to a strong goal to lose weight, suggesting that a strong goal to lose weight may function as a motivational buffer against self-control failures. All in all, these findings provide evidence for the external validity of depletion sensitivity and the relevance of this construct in the domain of eating behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-31
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Depletion sensitivity
  • Diary study
  • Eating behavior
  • Ego-depletion
  • Food choice
  • Self-control


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