Raising Eaters Part II: Generational Effects of Parenting Styles on Females Eating Behaviors in Childhood
Durham, Ellen Kaye
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Over the past four decades pediatric obesity rates have more than tripled and child eating disorders are on the rise, suggesting a significant health concern in children’s eating habits (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2013; Rosen, 2010). As females are identified as most at risk for disordered eating (Collins, 1991) and mothers remain the primary caretakers of children at home, females are the focus of the present study. Following Bandura’s principles of observational learning, attitudes regarding eating practices and body image are likely to be transmitted from mother to daughter and perpetuated across generations through parental control and parental modeling. Therefore, the present study aims to examine eating behaviors across three generations of females: the participant, maternal caregiver, and oldest daughter. Two generations of parenting styles will be examined in relation to the children’s subsequent eating behaviors: that of the participant and that of her maternal caregiver. Participants completed the Parenting Style and Dimensions Questionnaire (PSDQ-SF), Three Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ-R18V2), Child Feeding Questionnaire (CFQ-Revised), and Parental Dietary Modeling Scale (PDMS). It was hypothesized that: (1) parenting styles of participants and participants’ maternal caregivers will be positively correlated, (2) eating behaviors of the participant and their oldest daughter will be positively correlated, (3) parental restrictive control will be positively correlated with child uncontrolled and emotional eating, and negatively correlated with cognitive restraint, (4) parental pressure to eat control will be positively correlated with child cognitive restrained eating and negatively correlated with child uncontrolled and emotional eating (5) authoritarian parenting will be predictive of greater parental restriction and pressure to eat control, (6) authoritarian parenting will be predictive of more cognitive restraint, uncontrolled, and emotional eating behavioral patterns, (7) and parental modeling will account for more predicted variance as compared to parental control. Overall, results suggest a transgenerational effect of modeling on the adoption of permissive parenting and eating behavioral patterns. Additional findings include pressure to eat control being positively correlated with cognitive restraint, authoritative parenting being predictive of emotional eating, and authoritarian parenting being predictive of restrictive control.