The complicated relationship among parent and child disinhibited eating behaviors
Published Web Locationhttps://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195666322000149
Disinhibited eating behaviors (e.g., loss of control eating (LOC) and eating in the absence of hunger (EAH)) contribute to overeating and obesity. This study aimed to evaluate whether these traits are related in parent-child dyads and how the reporter of child eating behavior (parent or child) impacts this relationship. Two-hundred and ninety treatment-seeking children, ages 8-13, with overweight or obesity (BMI percentile for age and sex 85-99.9%) and their parents were included. LOC and EAH were assessed by child report for self, parent report for self, and parent report for child. Parent and child disinhibited eating behaviors were related only when parents reported on both their own and their child's eating behaviors (p-values < 0.04). Child report of LOC and EAH for self was not associated with parent report of LOC and EAH for self (p-values > 0.05). There was a significant interaction between parent's EAH and BMI as it related to parent report of child EAH (B = 0.02; SE = 0.005; p = 0.004) such that parents with lower BMI reported their own EAH to be lower than parents with higher BMI, but parent report of child EAH was similar regardless of the parent's BMI. Disinhibited eating behaviors were related only when a single parent reported on both their own and their child's behavior, suggesting a potential reporting bias. Given that the relation between parent and child disinhibited eating behaviors varies based on who is reporting the child's behavior, it may be important to consider both parent and child report when designing research studies or in clinical settings while also recognizing potential reporting biases.