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The mediating effect of daily nervousness and irritability on the relationship between soft drink consumption and aggressive behaviour among adolescents



This study investigated whether soft drink consumption is related to fighting and bullying behaviour among school-aged children and whether nervousness and irritation mediated this relationship.


The data on 7583 adolescents aged 11–15 years from the Slovak part of the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) study 2010 were analysed. Self-reported soft drink intake, bullying, fighting, nervousness, irritability and confounding variables were analysed using logistic regressions. To assess the potential mediation of daily nervousness and irritability on the association between soft drink consumption and aggressive behaviour, we used Sobel tests.


Adolescents’ daily soft drink consumption was associated with bullying and fighting, and these relationships were partially mediated by nervousness and irritability. Adjustment of the analyses on gender, age and family affluence did not change the estimates.


Adolescents’ daily soft drink consumption was associated with negative mood deviations such as nervousness and irritability and with aggressive behaviour in the form of bullying and fighting. Our findings provide new evidence about soft drink consumption-related risks and thus can contribute to the preventive actions aimed at reducing them.

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This work was partially supported by the Research and Development Support Agency under Contract No. APVV 0032-11, by the Scientific Grant Agency of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic, the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Reg. No. 1/0895/14, and was also partially funded within the framework of the project “Social determinants of health in socially and physically disadvantaged and other groups of population” of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports in Czech Republic CZ.1.07/2.3.00/20.0063’.

Compliance with ethical standards

The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Medical Faculty at the P. J. Safarik University in Kosice. Parents were informed about the study via the school administration and could opt out if they disagreed with their child’s participation. Participation in the study was fully voluntary and anonymous with no explicit incentives provided for participation.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Jana Holubcikova.

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Holubcikova, J., Kolarcik, P., Madarasova Geckova, A. et al. The mediating effect of daily nervousness and irritability on the relationship between soft drink consumption and aggressive behaviour among adolescents. Int J Public Health 60, 699–706 (2015).

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