UBC Theses and Dissertations
A gendered perspective on parenting practices and its association with adolescents’ dietary behaviours Deslippe, Alysha
Background: Dietary behaviours are a modifiable risk factor contributing to adolescent obesity (13-to-17-year-olds). Interventions involving the home have shown promise in promoting healthy eating directly through parenting practices (i.e., structured, autonomy supportive and controlling parenting practices) and indirectly through adolescents’ commitment to healthy eating (i.e., cognitive factors including self-efficacy and motivation). However, it is currently unknown if boys and girls respond similarly to parenting practices or whether sex of parent matters. Objective: The aims of this thesis were to explore the associations between parenting practices (Aim 1) and cognitive factors (Aim 2) on adolescents’ dietary behaviours (i.e., fruit/vegetable (F&V) and sugar sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption) as well as the mediated associations of parenting practices through adolescents’ cognitive factors (Aim 3). Methods: Two samples were analyzed including the LiGHT project from Canada and the FLASHE study from the United States (US). The Canadian sample included 362 parent-adolescent dyads (65.5% mothers; 49.7% girls) and the US sample included 1633 parent-adolescent dyads (73.7% mothers; 50.4% girls). All measures were collected using self-reported questions. Using path analyses, direct associations between parenting practice (Aim 1) and adolescents’ cognitive factors (Aim 2), as well as indirect associations of parenting practices through adolescents’ cognitive factors on dietary behaviours (Aim 3) were explored. All models were stratified by sex of adolescent and controlled for known confounders. Sex of parent was explored as a moderator in aims 1 and 3. Results: Direct associations between controlling (β =-.24, p<.01) and autonomy supportive (β=.18, p<.01) parenting practices and F&V intake emerged among boys only. Direct associations between intrinsic motivation and SSB consumption also emerged for boys (β=-.13, p<.01). Findings from the mediation analyses suggest that controlling and autonomy supportive parenting practices have significant indirect associations on boys’ dietary behaviours through motivation pathways, but not for girls. Parent sex was not found to act as a significant moderator. Conclusion: Boys and girls do not appear to be affected in the same way by parenting practices. Home-based interventions using a broader range of parenting practices may be advantageous in helping shape boys’ motivation for healthy eating more so than girls.
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