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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Relationship between maternal parenting and eating self-efficacy in overweight children when stressed

  • Author(s): Rhee, KE
  • Pan, TY
  • Norman, GJ
  • Crow, S
  • Boutelle, K
  • et al.

Background: Emotional eating is associated with negative eating habits and obesity. Parents may be able to decrease the risk of emotional eating in children by promoting greater self-efficacy to engage in healthy eating behaviors. Our goal was to determine the relationship between certain parenting behaviors and eating self-efficacy (ESE) to consume healthy foods during times of emotional stress in a population of overweight/obese children. Methods: Eighty children (60 % female; mean BMI percentile = 98.4 %; 79.2 % White) completed a survey that assessed their ESE when stressed, feeling down, or bored. Children also reported on mothers' parenting behaviors coded along three factors: acceptance-based parenting (AC), psychological control (PC), and firm control (FC). Correlations and multiple linear regression models were used for analysis. Results: AC was positively correlated with ESE when stressed. PC and FC were inversely correlated with ESE when feeling down. In the multivariate regression, only FC was significantly inversely associated with ESE when feeling down. Conclusion: Results suggest that overweight children who perceive their mothers to exhibit firm control have lower ESE to make healthy choices when feeling sad. These results suggest that pediatric obesity programs should place a stronger focus on decreasing firm control behaviors among parents in order to help children engage in healthier eating behaviors. © 2013 Springer International Publishing Switzerland.

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