The temporal stability of maternal parenting style and child feeding practices: A six-wave longitudinal study

Jeremy C. Morales, Reout Arbel, Genevieve F. Dunton, Tyler B. Mason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although parenting styles and child feeding practices are conceptualized as distal, static predictors of child eating and weight outcomes, few studies have examined the temporal stability (i.e., change over time) of these parenting measures. Also, parental characteristics, such as mental health or socio-demographics, may make it more or less difficult to sustain consistent parenting behavior. This study examined the temporal stability of parenting styles and child feeding practices and the association between temporal stability indices with maternal sociodemographic and mental health characteristics. The analytic sample included 161 ethnically diverse mothers enrolled in a six-wave bi-annual longitudinal study. During each wave, mothers reported on their parenting styles and child feeding practices using validated self-report questionnaires. Temporal stability indices for parenting styles were moderate for authoritative (ICC = 0.57) and authoritarian (ICC = 0.70) styles, yet high for permissive (ICC = 0.78) styles. Temporal stability scores for child feeding practices were low for discipline (ICC = 0.33), limit setting (ICC = 0.33), monitoring (ICC = 0.36), and pressure to eat (ICC = 0.34); however, restriction (ICC = 0.53) and role modeling of healthy eating were moderate (ICC = 0.73). Greater income and education status were positively associated with stability in authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive parenting styles, as well as with limit setting, monitoring, role modeling of healthy eating, and pressure to eat feeding practices. Higher anxiety and depressive symptoms and lower self-esteem were negatively associated with permissive parenting styles and role modeling of healthy eating. Findings show that maternal parenting styles and child feeding practices fluctuate over time, and sociodemographic and mental health characteristics are related to stability of some of these parenting styles and behaviors.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number107231
JournalAppetite
Volume195
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2024

Keywords

  • Child feeding behaviors
  • Mother-child interaction
  • Parenting styles
  • Temporal stability

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • General Psychology

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