The present study aimed to explore the process in which impulsivity might influence soft drink consumption in adolescents, addressing potential mediating effects of perceived parental regulation regarding unhealthy eating. A cross-sectional survey was performed among 440 13-15-year-olds in Eastern Norway. The survey questionnaire included measures of impulsivity, six types of maternal and paternal regulation (as perceived by the adolescents), and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB). Parallel multiple-mediator analyses were performed to reveal potential mediating effects of perceived parental regulatory behaviors on the association between adolescent impulsivity and SSB consumption. Separate models were run for maternal and paternal regulation. Results from our model analyses (both maternal and paternal models) indicated that all the six measured parental regulatory behaviors jointly acted as mediators on the association between adolescent impulsivity and SSB consumption. However, only perceived maternal and paternal legitimacy of regulation showed a unique contribution to the mediated effect. This finding suggests that adolescents’ perception of parental legitimate authority is of particular importance in explaining the relationship between impulsivity and unhealthy eating behaviors in adolescents. Future nutrition interventions targeting adolescents and their parents should take personal factors such as adolescents’ level of impulsivity into account. Ultimately; what may be an appropriate approach to impulsive individuals and their parents may diverge from what may be an appropriate approach to less impulsive individuals and their parents.
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