Psychological and situational predictors of caffeine consumption in daily life

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Perrodin, Benjamin
Kanfer, Ruth
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The stimulant effects of caffeine have been widely studied. Research on caffeine has proceeded, similar to research on other drugs, with a focus on establishing the presence and magnitude of effects on physiological, psychological and behavioral processes through placebo-control studies conducted in laboratory settings. However, there has been relatively little research on caffeine consumption as a common behavior which occurs in the context of daily life. Achievement settings like work and school are particularly interesting contexts in which to study caffeine consumption because of the demands placed on individuals to manage their energy and psychological states in service of goal accomplishment. The current study examined predictors of caffeine consumption among college students using an experience sampling methodology. One hundred and fifty students at a large public university reported on their mood, sleep, stress, workload, and caffeine consumption for a period of 14 days in order to study the psychological and situational predictors of caffeine consumption in their daily lives. Results indicated a negative relationship between mood and subsequent caffeine consumption and a positive relationship between workload and caffeine consumption. Also, the relationship between workload and caffeine consumption was stronger for individuals with positive caffeine expectancies related to work performance. The implications and limitations of these findings, as well as suggestions for future research are discussed.
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