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ARS Home » Plains Area » Houston, Texas » Children's Nutrition Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #330227

Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Parent emotional distress and feeding styles in low-income families. The role of parent depression and parenting stress

Author
item Hughes, Sheryl - CHILDREN'S NUTRITION RESEARCH CENTER (CNRC)
item Power, Thomas - WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY
item Liu, Yan - CHILDREN'S NUTRITION RESEARCH CENTER (CNRC)
item Sharp, Carla - UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON
item Nicklas, Theresa - CHILDREN'S NUTRITION RESEARCH CENTER (CNRC)

Submitted to: Appetite
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/2/2015
Publication Date: 6/4/2015
Citation: Hughes, S.O., Power, T.G., Liu, Y., Sharp, C., Nicklas, T.A. 2015. Parent emotional distress and feeding styles in low-income families. The role of parent depression and parenting stress. Appetite. 92:337-342. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2015.06.002

Interpretive Summary: Depression and other stressors have been associated with general parenting and child outcomes in low-income families. The goal of this study was to examine how depressive symptoms and parenting stress may influence the nature of parent feeding styles. Low-income African-American and Hispanic parents and their preschoolers were recruited from Head Start districts in a large urban city in the Southwestern part of the United States. Parents completed questionnaires related to parent and child characteristics that may impact their child eating environment. Twenty-five percent of these parents were at risk for depression. Parents with an uninvolved feeding style (those who are characterized by a lack of control and involvement in feeding their child) were found to have less positive affect and more parenting stress than parents showing other types of feeding styles. This psychological distress in low-income populations may promote less optimal child eating behaviors thus influencing the development of childhood obesity. These results could provide useful information for the development of prevention studies.

Technical Abstract: Depression and other stressors have been associated with general parenting and child outcomes in low-income families. Given that parents shape child eating behaviors through their feeding interactions with their child, it is important to investigate factors that may influence parental feeding of young children. The aim of this study was to examine how depressive symptoms and parenting stress might influence the nature of parent feeding styles in low-income families. Questionnaires were completed by 290 African-American and Hispanic parents residing in a large urban city in the southwestern United States. Twenty-six percent of the parents reported depressive symptoms above the clinical cutoff. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine how depressive symptoms and parenting stress might influence the nature of parent feeding styles. After adjusting for potential confounding variables (e.g., ethnicity, education, age), parents with an uninvolved feeding style reported less positive affect and more parenting stress than parents showing the other three feeding styles - authoritative, authoritarian, and indulgent. Because feeding styles tend to be associated with child obesity in low income samples, the results of this study provide important information regarding the parent-child eating dynamic that may promote less optimal child eating behaviors and the development of childhood obesity. This information could be useful for prevention studies aimed at changing parent behaviors that negatively impact the socialization of child eating behaviors.