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Appetite. 2010 Dec;55(3):695-700. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2010.10.003. Epub 2010 Oct 19.

Preparing meals under time stress. The experience of working mothers.

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Flinders University, Adelaide, SA, Australia.


The present study quantitatively explored the effects of mothers' perceived time pressure, as well as meal-related variables including mothers' convenience orientation and meal preparation confidence, on the healthiness of evening meals served to school-aged children (5-18 years old) over a 7-day period. A sample of 120 employed mothers, who identified themselves as the chief meal-preparers in their households, completed a brief, self-report, meal-related questionnaire. Results revealed that mothers' perceived time pressure did not significantly predict meal healthiness. Mothers' confidence in their ability to prepare a healthy meal was the only unique, significant predictor of a healthy evening meal. Mothers who were more confident in their ability to prepare a healthy meal served healthier evening meals than those who were less confident. In addition, mothers' perceived time pressure and convenience orientation were negatively related to healthy meal preparation confidence. Results suggest that mothers' perceived time pressure and convenience orientation, may indirectly compromise meal healthiness, by decreasing mothers' meal preparation confidence. Practical and theoretical implications of the study's findings are discussed.

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