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Health Educ Res. 2004 Jun;19(3):261-71.

Children's eating attitudes and behaviour: a study of the modelling and control theories of parental influence.

Author information

1
Department of General Practice, Guys Kings and St Thomas' School of Medicine, Kings College London, 5 Lambeth Walk, London SE11 6SP, UK.

Abstract

The present study compared the modelling and control theories of parental influence on children's eating attitudes and behaviour with a focus on snack foods. Matched questionnaires describing reported snack intake, eating motivations and body dissatisfaction were completed by 112 parent/child pairs. Parents completed additional items relating to control in terms of attempts to control their child's food intake and using food as a tool for controlling behaviour. The results showed significant correlations between parent and child for reported snack intake, eating motivations and body dissatisfaction, indicating an important role for modelling. Parents were then divided according to their control scores. Children whose parents indicated greater attempts to control their child's diets reported higher intakes of both healthy and unhealthy snack foods. In addition, those children whose parents indicated a greater use of food as a means to control their child's behaviour reported higher levels of body dissatisfaction. The results provide some support for both the modelling and control theories of parental influence. However, whereas modelling appears to have a consistent impact, parental control has a differential impact depending upon whether this control is focused on the child's diet or on other aspects of their behaviour. To conclude, a positive parental role model may be a better method for improving a child's diet than attempts at dietary control.

PMID:
15140846
DOI:
10.1093/her/cyg040
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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