BACKGROUND: Research suggests that stress and depressed mood are associated with food-related parenting practices (ie, parent feeding practices, types of food served at meals). However, current measures of parental stress, depressed mood, and food-related parenting practices are typically survey-based and assessed as static/unchanging characteristics, failing to account for fluctuations across time and context. Identifying momentary factors that influence parent food-related parenting practices will facilitate the development of effective interventions aimed at promoting healthy food-related parenting practices. In this study, we used ecological momentary assessment to examine the association between momentary factors (eg, stress, depressed mood) occurring early in the day and food-related parenting practices at the evening meal.
METHODS: Children aged 5 to 7 years and their families (N = 150) from 6 racial and/or ethnic groups (n = 25 each African American, Hispanic/Latino, Hmong, American Indian, Somali, and white families) were recruited for this mixed-methods study through primary care clinics.
RESULTS: Higher stress and depressed mood earlier in the day predicted pressure-to-eat feeding practices and fewer homemade foods served at meals the same night. Effect modification was found for certain racial and/or ethnic groups with regard to engaging in pressure-to-eat feeding practices (ie, America Indian, Somali) or serving fewer homemade meals (ie, African American, Hispanic/Latino) in the face of high stress or depressed mood.
CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians may want to consider discussing with parents the influence stress and depressed mood can have on everyday food-related parenting practices. Additionally, future researchers should consider using real-time interventions to reduce parental stress and depressed mood to promote healthy parent food-related parenting practices.
- Accepted September 14, 2017.
- Copyright © 2017 by the American Academy of Pediatrics