Utilising online paradigms to explore the effect of boredom and sadness on children's snack choice: The role of parental feeding practices and child temperament

Rebecca A. Stone, Emma Haycraft, Jacqueline Blissett*, Claire Farrow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Emotional eating (EE) is defined as eating in response to negative emotions (e.g., sadness and boredom). Child temperament and parental feeding practices are predictive of child EE and may interact to shape child EE. Previous research has demonstrated that children eat more when they are experiencing sadness, however, boredom-EE (despite how common boredom is in children) has yet to be explored experimentally using remote methodologies. The current study explores whether feeding practices and child temperament interact with mood to predict children's snack selection in an online hypothetical food choice task. Using online experimental methods, children aged 6-9-years (N = 347) were randomised to watch a mood-inducing video clip (control, sadness, or boredom). Children completed a hypothetical food choice task from images of four snacks in varying portion sizes. The kilocalories in children's online snack choices were measured. Parents reported their feeding practices and child's temperament. Results indicated that the online paradigm successfully induced feelings of boredom and sadness, but these induced feelings of boredom and sadness did not significantly shape children's online food selection. Parental reports of use of restriction for health reasons (F = 8.64, p = .004, n = 0.25) and children's negative emotionality (F = 6.81, p = .009, n = 0.020) were significantly related to greater total kilocalorie selection by children. Three-way ANCOVAs found no evidence of any three-way interactions between temperament, feeding practices, and mood in predicting children's online snack food selection. These findings suggest that children's hypothetical snack food selection may be shaped by non-responsive feeding practices and child temperament. This study's findings also highlight different methods that can be successfully used to stimulate emotional experiences in children by using novel online paradigms, and also discusses the challenges around using online methods to measure children's intended food choice. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2024 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.]
Original languageEnglish
Article number107366
Number of pages9
JournalAppetite
Volume198
Early online date20 Apr 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2024 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Data Access Statement

The authors do not have permission to share data.

Keywords

  • Emotionality
  • Boredom
  • Children
  • Non-responsive feeding
  • Online mood manipulation

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