Emotional eating (EE; defined as overeating irrespective of satiety and in response to emotional states) develops within childhood, persists into adulthood, and is linked with obesity. The origins of EE remain unclear, but parental behaviours (e.g., controlling feeding practices and modelling) and child characteristics (e.g., temperament) are often implicated. To date, the interaction between these influences has not been well investigated. This study explores whether the relationship between parent and child EE is shaped by parental feeding practices, and if the magnitude of this relationship varies as a function of child temperament. Mothers (N = 244) of 3–5‐year‐olds completed questionnaires about their EE, feeding practices, their children's EE and temperament. Results showed that parental use of food to regulate children's emotions fully mediated the relationship between parent and child EE, and using food as a reward and restricting food for health reasons partially mediated this relationship. Analyses demonstrated that the mediated relationship between parent and child EE via use of food as a reward and restriction of food for health reasons varied as a function of child negative affect, where high child negative affect moderated these mediations. These findings suggest child EE may result from interrelationships between greater parent EE, use of food as a reward, restriction of food for health reasons and negative affective temperaments, but that greater use of food for emotion regulation may predict greater child EE irrespective of child temperament.
Bibliographical note© 2022 The Authors. Maternal & Child Nutrition published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
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- Child Behavior/psychology
- Child, Preschool
- Feeding Behavior/psychology
- Parent-Child Relations
- Surveys and Questionnaires
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Predictors of Early Emotional Eating: The Interaction of Parent Factors, Child Individual Differences, and Child Mood StateAuthor: Stone, R. A., Sept 2022
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis › Doctor of PhilosophyFile