Relationship between maternal parenting and eating self-efficacy in overweight children when stressed

Kyung E. Rhee, Teresa Y. Pan, Gregory J. Norman, Scott Crow, Kerri Boutelle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Emotional eating is associated with negative eating habits and obesity. Parents may be able to decrease the risk of emotional eating in children by promoting greater self-efficacy to engage in healthy eating behaviors. Our goal was to determine the relationship between certain parenting behaviors and eating self-efficacy (ESE) to consume healthy foods during times of emotional stress in a population of overweight/obese children. Methods: Eighty children (60 % female; mean BMI percentile = 98.4 %; 79.2 % White) completed a survey that assessed their ESE when stressed, feeling down, or bored. Children also reported on mothers' parenting behaviors coded along three factors: acceptance-based parenting (AC), psychological control (PC), and firm control (FC). Correlations and multiple linear regression models were used for analysis. Results: AC was positively correlated with ESE when stressed. PC and FC were inversely correlated with ESE when feeling down. In the multivariate regression, only FC was significantly inversely associated with ESE when feeling down. Conclusion: Results suggest that overweight children who perceive their mothers to exhibit firm control have lower ESE to make healthy choices when feeling sad. These results suggest that pediatric obesity programs should place a stronger focus on decreasing firm control behaviors among parents in order to help children engage in healthier eating behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-288
Number of pages6
JournalEating and Weight Disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This research was funded in part by University of Minnesota Obesity Center (NIH NIDDK/5P30-DK050456-14) and University of California, San Diego, Academic Senate Award. KR receives support from NIH/NICHD K23HD057299. KB receives support from NIH/NIDDK 1R01DK075861 and K02HL112042.


  • Childhood obesity
  • Eating behaviors
  • Emotional eating
  • Parenting behaviors
  • Parenting style
  • Self-efficacy


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