Momentary parental stress and food-related parenting practices

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Research suggests that stress and depressed mood are associated with foodrelated parenting practices (ie, parent feeding practices, types of food served at meals). However, current measures of parental stress, depressed mood, and food-related parenting practices are typically survey-based and assessed as static/unchanging characteristics, failing to account for fluctuations across time and context. Identifying momentary factors that influence parent food-related parenting practices will facilitate the development of effective interventions aimed at promoting healthy food-related parenting practices. In this study, we used ecological momentary assessment to examine the association between momentary factors (eg, stress, depressed mood) occurring early in the day and food-related parenting practices at the evening meal. METHODS: Children aged 5 to 7 years and their families (N = 150) from 6 racial and/or ethnic groups (n = 25 each African American, Hispanic/Latino, Hmong, American Indian, Somali, and white families) were recruited for this mixed-methods study through primary care clinics. RESULTS: Higher stress and depressed mood earlier in the day predicted pressure-to-eat feeding practices and fewer homemade foods served at meals the same night. Effect modification was found for certain racial and/or ethnic groups with regard to engaging in pressure-to-eat feeding practices (ie, America Indian, Somali) or serving fewer homemade meals (ie, African American, Hispanic/Latino) in the face of high stress or depressed mood. CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians may want to consider discussing with parents the influence stress and depressed mood can have on everyday food-related parenting practices. Additionally, future researchers should consider using real-time interventions to reduce parental stress and depressed mood to promote healthy parent food-related parenting practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20172295
JournalPediatrics
Volume140
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2017

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