Controlling feeding practices and psychopathology in a non-clinical sample of mothers and fathers

2012-12-18T13:41:19Z (GMT) by Emma Haycraft Jacqueline Blissett
Objective To explore the relationships between controlling feeding practices and a range of mental health symptoms while considering both parent and child gender. Method Mothers and fathers (N = 214) of children aged 18–59 months completed self-report measures of their child feeding practices, eating psychopathology and general mental health symptomology. Results Feeding practices did not differ across any of the four parent–child gender dyads. Mothers’ eating psychopathology scores were significantly higher than fathers’ but parents did not significantly differ in the severity of their other mental health symptoms. Associations between disordered eating symptoms and controlling feeding practices were only seen in mothers of daughters and fathers of sons. In general, a range of mental health symptomologies in this non-clinical sample were related to more controlling feeding practices across all four dyads. Psychopathology was most strongly related to controlling feeding practices in parents of girls. Conclusion Symptoms of psychopathology may be more likely to associate with controlling feeding practices in parents of daughters due to societal values for slimness in females.