PARENTING SATISFACTION, EFFICACY, AND DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS PREDICT PARENT FEEDING AMONG MOTHERS OF TODDLER PARTICIPATING IN THE WOMEN, INFANTS, AND CHILDREN’S PROGRAM

Open Access
Author:
DuBartell, Emily Christine
Area of Honors:
Nutritional Sciences
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Jennifer Savage Williams, Thesis Supervisor
  • Alison Diane Gernand, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • WIC
  • depression
  • parenting competence
  • feeding styles
  • feeding practices
Abstract:
Background: Early intervention is needed to prevent childhood obesity. Parenting behaviors and practices surrounding child feeding, including parent psychosocial factors, play a significant role in the development of child self-regulation mechanisms and subsequent development of overweight and obesity. Maternal symptoms of depression are related to suboptimal parenting practices and child well-being, whereas parenting competence has a protective effect. However, it is less clear whether increased parenting competence moderates the positive association between depressive symptomology and child weight, particularly among low-income families. Objective: The primary aim of this study was to examine the influence of maternal parenting competence and maternal depressive symptomology on parental feeding styles and practices in 317 mothers of toddlers aged 12 to 36 months enrolled in the Special Supplemental Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. Methods: Cross sectional data were analyzed using an existing November 2012 survey. Measures include the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale to assess maternal depressive symptomology, the Parenting Sense of Competence scale to measure maternal satisfaction and efficacy, the Child Feeding Styles Questionnaire to assess parent feeding styles, and the Structure and Control in Parent Feeding to assess parent feeding practices. Results: Increased parenting sense of competence was correlated with positive feeding styles (p<0.001) and structure-based feeding practices (p<.0001). Conversely, maternal depressive symptomology was associated with authoritarian feeding styles (OR=2.43) and control-based, coercive feeding practices (p=.0001). High parenting competence moderated the positive relationship between depressive-symptomology and parent use of control-based feeding practices (p=0.03). Conclusions: Maternal depression and parenting competence are related to feeding practices and styles which influence weight behaviors in young children. Increasing maternal parenting competence may be an important factor in targeting childhood obesity, particularly among at risk lower socioeconomic households that are more likely to be obese and where maternal depression is more prevalent.