Date of Award

3-2021

Degree Name

MS in Kinesiology

Department/Program

Kinesiology

College

College of Science and Mathematics

Advisor

Alison Ventura

Advisor Department

Kinesiology

Advisor College

College of Science and Mathematics

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic provides an important opportunity to understand how parenting stress during social crisis may predict child feeding practices and perceptions of child mealtime behaviors. The objective of the present study was to explore whether parents’ perceived increases in and overall levels of parenting stress during the pandemic were associated with controlling feeding practices and perceptions of child eating behaviors. Parents (n = 284) of 4–6-year-old children completed a cross-sectional online survey between March and April 2020. The survey assessed parents’ perceived change in parenting stress during the onset of the pandemic and levels of parenting stress during the pandemic (via the Parenting Stress Scale), as well as child feeding practices (via the Comprehensive Feeding Practices Questionnaire), and children’s eating behaviors (via the Child Eating Behavior Questionnaire). Ordinal linear regressions were used examine whether changes in and levels of parenting stress predicted use of controlling or responsive feeding practices and parents’ perceptions of child eating behaviors. The majority (63.7%, n = 181) of parents indicated their family was moderately or extremely emotionally affected by the pandemic and 56.7% (n = 161) indicated pandemic-related precautions had been moderately or extremely challenging. Perceived increases in parenting stress during the onset of the pandemic were associated with more frequent use of food as a reward (OR = 1.15, 95% CI = 1.04 – 1.26) and for emotional regulation (OR = 1.13, 95% CI = 1.04 – 1.23), as well as low child food responsiveness (OR = 0.91, 95% CI = 0.84 – 0.99) and lower odds of slow eating (OR = 0.92, 95% CI = 0.84 – 1.00). Higher overall levels of parenting stress were associated with more frequent use of food as a reward (OR = 1.05, 95% CI = 1.02 – 1.08) and for emotional regulation (OR = 1.05, 95% CI = 1.03 – 1.08) but also with use of pressuring feeding practices (OR = 1.03, 95% CI = 1.01 – 1.06) and encouraging a balanced diet less frequently (OR = 1.03, 95% CI = 1.01 – 1.06). Higher overall levels of parenting stress were associated with greater child food fussiness (OR = 1.05, 95% CI = 1.02 – 1.08), low enjoyment of food (OR = 1.05, 95% CI = 1.02 – 1.07), and low satiety responsiveness (OR = 0.95, 95% CI = 0.93 – 0.98). During the COVID-19 pandemic, increases in and high levels of parenting stress predicted parents’ use of food for emotion and behavioral regulation, but also with various domains of children’s eating behaviors. Results highlight the need for targeted efforts to support families during social crisis.

Available for download on Wednesday, March 09, 2022

Share

COinS