COVID-19 pandemic shifts in food-related parenting practices within an ethnically/racially and socioeconomically diverse sample of families of preschool-aged children

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3 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study aimed to evaluate the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on food parenting practices used by parents of young children. Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) was used to evaluate parents’ use of coercive, indulgent, structured, and autonomy supportive food parenting practices before and during the COVID-19 pandemic among a diverse racial/ethnic sample (n = 72) of parents of preschool-aged children. The impact of parent and child mood/behavior on use of specific food parenting practices was also evaluated during both time periods. Results revealed that most parents of preschoolers use a variety of food parenting practices, including coercive control, indulgence, structure, and autonomy support practices. The use of structured and autonomy supportive practices, however, decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, the types of practices used by parents were contextually associated with the mood of the parent as well as child mood. Parent negative mood during COVID-19 was associated with higher levels of coercive control and indulgence and lower levels of structure, whereas child positive child mood was associated with greater use of autonomy supportive practices. These findings suggest that effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on family dynamics around feeding young children include shifts away from theoretically supportive approaches to parenting and highlight the roles of parent and child mood/behavior as potentially important momentary influences on food parenting during this time. Public health practitioners and clinicians working with parents of young children during COVID-19, and in years to come, should consider the potential impact of parental mood and stress, as well as child mood and behaviors. Additional research is needed to better understand how to best help parents maintain supportive feeding practices in the face of challenging situations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105714
JournalAppetite
Volume168
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the University of Minnesota Clinical and Translational Science Institute (NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award: UL1TR002494), Children's Minnesota, the University of Minnesota Department of Pediatrics Child Health COVID-19 Collaborative Grant (PI: Katie Loth), and the National Institutes of Health, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (R35HL139853, PI: Neumark-Sztainer). Dr. Loth's time was supported by the National Institutes of Health Institute of Child Health and Human Development, award number K23HD090324-02. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health Institute of Child Health and Human Development or National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Funders did not play a role in the study design, data collection, analysis or interpretation of the data, nor in the writing of the report or the decision to submit this article for publication.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the University of Minnesota Clinical and Translational Science Institute ( NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award: UL1TR002494 ), Children's Minnesota, the University of Minnesota Department of Pediatrics Child Health COVID-19 Collaborative Grant (PI: Katie Loth), and the National Institutes of Health, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (R35HL139853, PI: Neumark-Sztainer). Dr. Loth's time was supported by the National Institutes of Health Institute of Child Health and Human Development , award number K23HD090324-02 . The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health Institute of Child Health and Human Development or National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Funders did not play a role in the study design, data collection, analysis or interpretation of the data, nor in the writing of the report or the decision to submit this article for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Behavior
  • COVID-19
  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • Food-related parenting practices
  • Mood
  • Stress

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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