Methods to assess ambivalence towards food and diet: a scoping review

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Background: Ambivalence towards food and diet, which favours behavioural inertia, might be a barrier to adopting healthier eating behaviours. Measuring it can help researchers to better understand its relationship with behaviour change and design interventions aimed at resolving it. In this scoping review, we map and describe methods and tools employed in studies to assess, measure or classify the ambivalence of participants towards food- and diet-related attitude objects. Methods: In accordance with Joanna Briggs Institute guidance for conducting scoping reviews, we retrieved peer-reviewed studies from MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Web of Science, FSTA and Food Science Source and preprints from PsyArXiv and MedRxiv. Two independent reviewers screened the articles. We considered for inclusion peer-reviewed studies and preprints that assessed the ambivalence of participants of any age, sex or sociodemographic group towards food and diet. Results: We included 45 studies published between 1992 and 2022, which included participants from 17 countries. Eighteen methods were employed across the included studies to assess different types of ambivalence (felt, potential or cognitive–affective), the most frequent of which were the Griffin Index, the Subjective Ambivalence Questionnaire, the MouseTracker Paradigm and the Orientation to Chocolate Questionnaire. Conclusion: This scoping review identified several methods and tools to assess different types of ambivalence towards food- and diet-related objects, providing an array of options for future studies.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics