Perceptions of parental pressure to eat and eating behaviours in preadolescents:the mediating role of anxiety


Previous research suggests that parental controlling feeding practices are associated with children's overeating and undereating behaviours. However, there is limited research addressing the link between children's mental health symptoms (specifically anxiety and depression) and their reports of eating behaviours, despite knowledge that these psychopathologies often co-exist. The current study aimed to identify the relationships between preadolescents' perceptions of their parents' feeding practices with reports of their own anxiety, depression and eating behaviours. Three hundred and fifty-six children (mean age 8.75 years) completed questionnaires measuring their dietary restraint, emotional eating and external eating, as well as their perceptions of their parents' use of pressure to eat and restriction of food. Children also completed measures of general anxiety, social anxiety and depression symptomology. Results indicated that preadolescents' eating behaviours were associated with their perceptions of the controlling feeding practices their parents used with them. Preadolescents' dietary restraint, emotional eating and external eating behaviours were positively associated with their reports of general and social anxiety, and depression symptomology. In addition, perceptions of parental pressure to eat were positively related to preadolescents' anxiety and depression levels. Child anxiety (general and social) was found to mediate the relationship between perceptions of parental pressure to eat and preadolescents' eating behaviours (dietary restraint, emotional eating and external eating). The results suggest that greater anxiety in preadolescents may explain why children who perceive greater pressure to eat by their parents are more likely to exhibit maladaptive eating behaviours. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences
College of Health & Life Sciences > Chronic and Communicable Conditions
Additional Information: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Appetite. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Houldcroft, L, Farrow, C & Haycraft, E 2014, 'Perceptions of parental pressure to eat and eating behaviours in preadolescents: The mediating role of anxiety' Appetite, vol. 80 (2014) DOI
Uncontrolled Keywords: children's eating behaviours,parental feeding practices,pressure to eat,restriction,anxiety,depression
Publication ISSN: 1095-8304
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2024 07:11
Date Deposited: 27 May 2014 13:10
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Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2014-09-01
Published Online Date: 2014-05-06
Authors: Houldcroft, Laura
Farrow, Claire (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-3745-6610)
Haycraft, Emma



Version: Accepted Version

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