Understanding the Impact of Online Food Advertisements and Emotions on Adolescents’ Food Choices

Last registered on May 09, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Understanding the Impact of Online Food Advertisements and Emotions on Adolescents’ Food Choices
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0009134
Initial registration date
May 06, 2022

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
May 09, 2022, 8:29 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
The Pennsylvania State University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
The Pennsylvania State University
PI Affiliation
The Pennsylvania State University
PI Affiliation
The Pennsylvania State University
PI Affiliation
Texas A&M University
PI Affiliation
University of Arkansas

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2022-05-06
End date
2022-08-01
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
In this experiment, we conduct an online survey with adolescents between 13-17 years old to study the impact of online food advertising on food choices, and the interaction with positive and negative emotions induced through film clips identified through a prior study conducted by the researchers.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Fan, Linlin et al. 2022. "Understanding the Impact of Online Food Advertisements and Emotions on Adolescents’ Food Choices." AEA RCT Registry. May 09. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9134
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
We will employ a 3X2 between-subjects design where we randomly assign participants to three alternative emotion conditions (negative, neutral, and positive) and two alternative online advertisements (unhealthy food advertisement and non-food online advertisement). Participants are asked to carefully watch two two-minute film-clip validated to elicit the targeted emotion (positive, neutral, or negative). Before and after the two film clips, participants are randomly assigned to one of the two advertising conditions: food advertisements and non-food advertisements. Participants watch three 30-second advertisements either on unhealthy food items (Hershey Kisses, Lay’s potato chips, and Oreos) or on a non-food item (e.g., Nintendo Switch, shoes, Spotify).

Participants then begin a food decision phase. Twenty food items of similar prices are displayed on the screen in random order, to avoid order effects. We present participants with both healthy and unhealthy options: among the twenty food items, ten will be healthy (five sweet and five salty) and ten will be unhealthy (five sweet and five salty). Participants are asked to select the five items they would like to eat. They are also informed that one of every seven respondents will be randomly drawn to receive their selected food items via mail. The food choice is incentivized to motivate participants to make choices representative of their actual preferences, allowing us to identify the impact of advertising on non-hypothetical food choices.
Intervention Start Date
2022-05-09
Intervention End Date
2022-07-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. Number of healthy choices
2. Calorie, saturated fat, and sugar content of the chosen foods
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
1. Number of healthy choices: We will present participants with both healthy and unhealthy options. Among the twenty food items, ten will be healthy (five sweet and five salty, all three unhealthy items in the food advertisements are included) and ten will be unhealthy (five sweet and five salty). We will count the number of unhealthy items selected (number of unhealthy items out of five), and the number of sweet versus savory items.
2. Calorie, saturated fat, and sugar content of the chosen foods.: We will calculate the total calories (in kcal), sodium (in grams), saturated fat (in grams), and added sugar content (in grams) of the selected food items.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This online experiment will take place in the Spring of 2022. Each participant will be asked to complete an around 30 minutes online survey. We aim to recruit approximately 750 respondents with the help of Qualtrics.
Before initiating the survey, the legal parent or guardian will provide consent for their child to participate in the study, if they choose to proceed with the survey, implied consent is given. Then, parents or legal guardians will be asked screening questions about their child (age and race), their home address, and their email address. Their home address would be used only to deliver the food selected by their child in the survey if randomly selected to receive the food delivery.
Following parent consent, adolescents will give their assent to participate and indicate their race and age before proceeding to make sure they meet our participants’ criteria. Again, if they choose to proceed with the survey, implied consent is given. Firstly, adolescents will be asked about their sociodemographic characteristics (age, gender, school grade, race, state).
At the beginning of the survey, adolescents will report their emotions using the PANAS and their hunger level. We will randomly assign adolescents to one of the three emotion conditions: positive, neutral, and negative. Participants will be asked to carefully watch two 2-minute film clips validated to elicit the targeted emotion (positive, neutral, or negative). At the beginning and at the of the film clips, and between the two emotion-eliciting film clips, participants will be randomly assigned to one of the two advertising conditions: food advertisement and non-food advertisement. Participants in the food advertisement conditions will watch three 30-seconds advertisements about food products. Participants in the non-food advertisement conditions will watch three 30-seconds advertisements about non-food products.
We will then collect again participants’ emotions using the PANAS and hunger level. Participants will then begin a food decision phase. Twenty food items of similar prices will be displayed on the screen in random order, to avoid order effects. We will present participants with healthy and unhealthy options: among the 20 food items, 10 will be healthy (5 sweet and 5 salty) and 10 unhealthy (5 sweet and 5 salty). Participants will be asked to select the 5 items they would like to eat. They will also be informed that 15% of the respondents will be randomly drawn to receive their selected food items via mail.
Before leaving the study, we also collect the perceived healthfulness and taste of the foods offered, the presence of restrained eating, food eaten and drank during the last seven days, emotion regulation, online time use, and self-reported height and weight.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization was done by Qualtrics
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
750 respondents
Sample size: planned number of observations
125*6=750 respondents
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
125 respondents per treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Penn State Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
2022-03-16
IRB Approval Number
STUDY00019757