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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Hughes, Sheryl
item Power, Thomas
item Fisher, Jennifer
item Mueller, Stephen
item Nicklas, Theresa

Submitted to: Journal Of The American Dietetic Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2003
Publication Date: 9/1/2003
Citation: Hughes, S., Power, T., Fisher, J., Mueller, S., Nicklas, T. 2003. The development of the caregiver's feeding styles questionnaire. Journal Of The American Dietetic Association. 103(9 suppl): A15.

Interpretive Summary: Based on what we know about how African-American (AA) and Hispanic-American (HA) parents get their preschool children to eat at meals, we developed a pencil and paper questionnaire that is able to categorize parents of preschoolers into four groups. The groups are characterized as authoritarian (controlling), authoritative (reasoning), indulgent (no control) and uninvolved (few interactions). Based on responses from 231 parents (130 HA; 101 AA), we found that authoritarian parents reported using more restriction and pressure to eat when trying to get their children to eat at meals. Authoritative parents used more reasoning and monitored their children's eating more than other parents. Both indulgent and uninvolved parents used less restriction and pressure to eat during meals; however, uninvolved parents were less nurturing than indulgent parents. Information from this questionnaire may be able to help us teach parents to get their children to eat better.

Technical Abstract: To develop an instrument to characterize child-feeding styles in parents of low-income Hispanic-American (HA) and African-American (AA) preschool children. Instrument development included using existing literature to generate items; de-centering techniques and cognitive interviewing to equate items across ethnic groups; and instrument validation through other measures of child feeding and general parenting. Caregivers (130 HA; 101 AA) with children enrolled at ten Head Start centers completed questionnaires on child-feeding (Caregiver's Feeding Styles Questionnaire, CFSQ; Child Feeding Questionnaire, CFQ) and general parenting (Parenting Dimensions Inventory, PDI). Factor analyses on the CFSQ revealed measures of caregivers' demandingness and responsiveness. Based on these dimensions, subjects were assigned to four feeding styles (authoritarian, n = 84; authoritative, n = 34; indulgent, n = 80; and uninvolved, n = 33). The CFSQ showed strong construct validity by significantly relating child-feeding styles to other measures. Authoritarian feeding styles were associated with higher levels of restrictive feeding and parents' use of pressure to eat (CFQ), inconsistency and physical punishment (PDI). In contrast, authoritative feeding styles were associated with higher levels of monitoring (CFQ); nurturing, discipline, organization, and reasoning (PDI). Both indulgent and uninvolved parents were lower on restrictive feeding and parents' use of pressure to eat (CFQ); however, uninvolved parents exhibited less nurturance, less organization, and were less likely to follow through on discipline compared to indulgent parents (PDI). These data provide psychometric support for the CFSQ as a new valid and reliable measure of child-feeding with AA and HA caregivers.

Last Modified: 06/22/2017
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