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An examination of food parenting practices: structure, control and autonomy promotion

  • Dara R Musher-Eizenman (a1), Lynnel Goodman (a1), Lindsey Roberts (a1), Jenna Marx (a1), Maija Taylor (a1) and Debra Hoffmann (a1)...

Abstract

Objective

In recent years, researchers have been working towards creating a standard conceptual framework of food parenting. To understand how parents’ reports correspond with the proposed model, the current study examined parents’ reports of their feeding behaviours in the context of a newly established framework of food parenting.

Design

Cross-sectional, with a two-week follow-up for a subset of the sample. Participants completed a quantitative and qualitative survey to assess food parenting. The survey included items from common food parenting instruments to measure the constructs posited in the framework. Exploratory factor analyses were conducted to ascertain which items related most closely to one another and factors were mapped on to existing constructs.

Setting

Online.

Participants

Parents of children aged 2·5–7 years (n 496). Of these, 122 completed a two-week follow-up.

Results

Analyses revealed eleven aspects of Structure (monitoring; distraction; family presence; meal/snack schedule; unstructured practices; healthy/unhealthy food availability; food preparation; healthy/unhealthy modelling; rules), ten aspects of Coercive Control (pressure to eat; using food to control emotions; food incentives to eat; food incentives to behave; non-food incentives to eat; restriction for health/weight; covert restriction; clean plate; harsh coercion) and seven aspects of Autonomy Promotion (praise; encouragement; nutrition education; child involvement; negotiation; responsive feeding; repeated offering). Content validity, assessed via parents’ open-ended explanations of their responses, was high, and test–retest reliability was moderate to high. Structure and Autonomy Promoting food parenting were highly positively correlated.

Conclusions

In general, parents’ responses provided support for the model, but suggested some amendments and refinements.

Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email mushere@bgsu.edu

References

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