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The purpose of the study was to test the moderating influence of two risk factors, maternal depression and socio-economic status (SES), on the association between authoritarian and permissive parenting styles and child obesity.
Correlational, cross-sectional study. Parenting style was measured with the Parenting Styles and Dimensions Questionnaire (PSDQ). Maternal depression was measured using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). BMI-for-age percentile was used to categorize children by weight status (children with BMI-for-age ≥95th percentile were classified as obese). SES was computed from parent education and occupational status using the four-factor Hollingshead index.
Rural public schools in a mid-western state in the USA.
One hundred and seventy-six mothers of first-grade children (ninety-one boys, eighty-five girls) enrolled in rural public schools.
Both maternal depression and SES were found to moderate the permissive parenting style/child obesity association, but not the authoritarian/child obesity association. For depressed mothers, but not for non-depressed mothers, more permissive parenting was predictive of child obesity. Similarly more permissive parenting was predictive of child obesity among higher SES mothers, but not for lower SES mothers.
Maternal depression and SES interact with permissive parenting style to predict child obesity. Future research should examine the relationship among these variables using a longitudinal design.
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