Predictors of Paternal and Maternal Controlling Feeding Practices with 2- to 5-year-old Children

Emma Haycraft, Jackie Blissett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



This study aimed to identify predictors of controlling feeding practices in both mothers and fathers of young children.


Cross-sectional, questionnaire design.


Nursery schools within the United Kingdom recruited participants.


Ninety-six mothers and fathers comprising 48 mother-father pairs of male and female children aged 2 to 5 years.

Main Outcome Measures

Parents' child feeding practices, eating psychopathology, general mental health symptomology, and their children's eating behaviors and temperament.


Preliminary correlations; stepwise regressions.


Maternal controlling feeding was predicted by children's eating behaviors (emotional over- and undereating), child temperament (sociability), and maternal general mental health symptoms. Paternal reports of children's eating behaviors (slow eating and emotional undereating) were the only significant predictors of fathers' controlling feeding practices.

Conclusions and Implications

Mothers' and fathers' feeding practices seem to be better linked to child characteristics than to the presence of eating psychopathology symptoms. Children's emotional eating predicted all 3 controlling feeding practices in mothers and warrants further study to elucidate the causal nature of this relationship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-397
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2012


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