Effects of acute caffeine administration on adolescents

Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2010 Dec;18(6):510-20. doi: 10.1037/a0021651.


Acute caffeine administration has physiological, behavioral, and subjective effects. Despite its widespread use, few studies have described the impact of caffeine consumption in children and adolescents. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of acute caffeine administration in adolescents. We measured cardiovascular responses and snack food intake after acute administration of 0 mg, 50 mg, 100 mg, and 200 mg of caffeine. We also compared usual food intake and subjective effects of caffeine between high- and low-caffeine consumers. Finally, we conducted a detailed analysis of caffeine sources and consumption levels. We found main effects of caffeine dose on heart rate (HR) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP), with HR decreasing and DBP increasing with increasing caffeine dose. There were significant interactions among gender, caffeine use, and time on DBP. High caffeine consumers (>50 mg/day) reported using caffeine to stay awake and drinking coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks more than low consumers (<50 mg/day). Boys were more likely than girls to report using getting a rush, more energy, or improved athletic performance from caffeine. Finally, when we examined energy and macronutrient intake, we found that caffeine consumption was positively associated with laboratory energy intake, specifically from high-sugar, low-fat foods and also positively associated with protein and fat consumption outside of the laboratory. When taken together, these data suggest that acute caffeine administration has a broad range of effects in adolescents and that the magnitude of these effects is moderated by gender and chronic caffeine consumption.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Performance
  • Beverages
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Caffeine / administration & dosage
  • Caffeine / pharmacology*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / administration & dosage
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology*
  • Child
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Energy Intake / drug effects
  • Female
  • Food Preferences / drug effects
  • Heart Rate / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sex Factors
  • Time Factors


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Caffeine