“It’s about what you’ve assigned to the salad”: Preliminary results of a qualitative food and mood focus group study

Megan Lee, Joanna Bradbury, Jacqueline Yoxall, Sally J E Sargeant

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterResearch

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Many quantitative studies have been published in the past decade in the field of nutritional psychiatry1 with evidence indicating that whole of diet patterns can increase/decrease negative mental health 2 . Less is known about how this manifests in everyday, lived experience of food consumption and its relationship with mood. This qualitative study aims to better understand personal relationships with food, meaning attached to food choices, the social context in which dietary choices are made and how these impact on mood.
Nine focus groups including 44 participants, comprising university students (n= 24), staff (n=14) and accredited practising dietitians (n=6), were conducted across two Australian university campuses, in person and online. Example questions included: ‘Can you describe how something you ate resulted in changing the way you felt?’ and ‘Can you describe how your feelings and emotions have influenced your eating’. Ethics was approved by SCU Human Research Ethics Committee. Data were de-identified and transcribed verbatim and analysed in NVIVO (v12). The research is currently in stage three of Braun and Clarke’s3 stages of thematic analysis
It is clear that the complexities assigned to discussing food and mood extend beyond dietary patterns and encompass a variety of social and behavioural circumstances. Continued work on the final three stages of Braun and Clarkes 3 thematic analysis is required to seek similarities and differences between the groups, and to refine the themes into larger interpretive factors
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes
EventASBHM 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting: Participatory Medicine for Behavioural Health and Wellbeing - Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 5 Feb 20207 Feb 2020


ConferenceASBHM 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting
Abbreviated titleASBHM
Internet address


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