Location: Children's Nutrition Research CenterTitle: Emotional climate and feeding styles: observational analysis of dinner in low-income families) Author
Submitted to: International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/31/2010
Publication Date: 6/14/2010
Citation: Hughes, S.O., Power, T.G., Papaioannou, M.A., Shewchuk, R.M. 2010. Emotional climate and feeding styles: observational analysis of dinner in low-income families [abstract]. International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. S01.2. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Indulgent feeding styles have been associated with a higher risk for childhood overweight. The processes through which feeding styles impact child weight are poorly understood. The aim of this study was to observe differences in the emotional climate created by parents (affect, tone of voice, gestures) among those reporting different feeding styles on the Caregiver’s Feeding Style Questionnaire. Using observations to measure parent emotional behaviors during dinner, the relationship between the emotional climate of the meal, self-reported feeding styles, and child weight were examined among 159 low-income families. Average age of the children was 4.4+/-0.7 years equally distributed across gender. Families were observed on 3 separate dinner occasions. Multivariate Analyses of Variance (MANOVAs) were used to evaluate differences across parent-reported feeding style categories on observed measures of parent positive effect, negative effect, intrusion, detachment, and cognitive stimulation. Our results show that authoritarian parents were significantly more negative and intrusive with children during dinner compared to authoritative and indulgent parents. Uninvolved parents were significantly more detached with children during dinner compared to authoritative and authoritarian parents. Indulgent and uninvolved parents provided significantly less cognitive stimulation compared to authoritarian parents. Child BMI z scores were as follows: authoritative (n = 32) 0.55; authoritarian (n = 46) 0.59; indulgent (n= 48) 0.91; uninvolved (n = 33) 1.05. Our results suggest that the emotional climate of the dinner meal may play an important part in how parents socialize their children around eating and that self-reported feeding styles might be a proxy for the emotional climate of the dinner meal.