or Mountain Don’t?:
A Pilot Investigation of Caffeine Use
Parameters and Relations to Depression
and Anxiety Symptoms in 5th-
and 10th-Grade Students
Caffeine, the only licit psychoactive drug available to minors, may have
a harmful impact on students’ health and adjustment, yet little is known about its use or
effects on students, especially from a developmental perspective. Caffeine use in 5th- and
10th-grade students was examined in a cross-sectional design, and relations and
potential mediators of caffeine use to depression and anxiety symptoms were
135) and adolescents (
79) completed a measure of
naturalistic use of caffeinated and noncaffeinated beverages. Furthermore, daily
availability, perceived bene±ts, and stimulating, psychological, and withdrawal effects of
caffeinated and noncaffeinated beverages were assessed. Measures of depression and
anxiety were also administered.
Fifth and 10th graders used caffeine frequently. Depression was positively
related to caffeine use for both cohorts, though mediated by caffeine withdrawal effects.
Surprisingly, anxiety was unrelated to use. Fifth graders reported less daily access to
caffeine, but more psychological and stimulating effects of caffeine than 10th graders.
Although both children and adolescents experience negative
caffeine-related outcomes, intake is seemingly not greatly limited in either cohort. In
particular, youth appear vulnerable to increased depressive symptoms with increasing
caffeine consumption. Implications for school policy regarding students’ caffeine use are
caffeine; depression; anxiety; school health; youth.
Luebbe AM, Bell DJ. Mountain Dew
or mountain don’t?: A pilot investigation
of caffeine use parameters and relations to depression and anxiety symptoms in 5th- and
10th-grade students. J Sch Health. 2009; 79: 380-387.
Accepted March 29, 2009
Predoctoral Resident, (ALuebbe@ped.umsmed.edu), Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of Mississippi Medical Center, 2500 N. State St., Jackson, MS 39216.
Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Services, (Belldeb@missouri.edu), Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri–Columbia, 210 McAlester Hall,
Columbia, MO 65211.
Address correspondence to: Aaron M. Luebbe, (Alubbe@ped.umsmed.edu) Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of Mississippi Medical Center, 2500 N. State
St., Jackson, MS 39216.
Journal of School Health
2009, American School Health Association