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Caffeine consumption and self-assessed stress, anxiety, and depression in secondary school children

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Gareth RichardsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Previous research suggests that effects of caffeine on behaviour are positive unless one is investigating sensitive groups or ingestion of large amounts.Children are a potentially sensitive subgroup, and especially so considering the high levels of caffeine currently found in energy drinks. The presentstudy used data from the Cornish Academies Project to investigate associations between caffeine (both its total consumption, and that derivedseparately from energy drinks, cola, tea, and coffee) and single-item measures of stress, anxiety, and depression, in a large cohort of secondary schoolchildren from the South West of England. After adjusting for additional dietary, demographic, and lifestyle covariates, positive associations betweentotal weekly caffeine intake and anxiety and depression remained significant, and the effects differed between males and females. Initially, effectswere also observed in relation to caffeine consumed specifically from coffee. However, coffee was found to be the major contributor to high overallcaffeine intake, providing explanation as to why effects relating to this source were also apparent. Findings from the current study increase ourknowledge regarding associations between caffeine intake and stress, anxiety, and depression in secondary school children, though the cross-sectionalnature of the research made it impossible to infer causality.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Richards G, Smith AP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Psychopharmacology

Year: 2015

Volume: 29

Issue: 12

Pages: 1236-1247

Print publication date: 01/12/2015

Online publication date: 27/10/2015

Acceptance date: 24/09/2015

Date deposited: 05/07/2018

ISSN (print): 0269-8811

ISSN (electronic): 1461-7285

Publisher: Sage


DOI: 10.1177/0269881115612404


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