Swanson V, Power KG, Crombie IK, Irvine L, Kiezebrink K, Wrieden W & Slane PW (2011) Maternal feeding behaviour and young children's dietary quality: A cross-sectional study of socially disadvantaged mothers of two-year old children using the Theory of Planned Behaviour. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 8, Art. No.: 65. https://doi.org/10.1186/1479-5868-8-65
Background: Having breakfast, eating food 'cooked from scratch' and eating together as a family have health and psychosocial benefits for young children. This study investigates how these parentally determined behaviours relate to children's dietary quality and uses a psychological model, the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), to investigate socio-cognitive predictors of these behaviours in socially disadvantaged mothers of young children in Scotland.
Method: Three hundred mothers of children aged 2 years (from 372 invited to participate, 81% response rate), recruited via General Practitioners, took part in home-based semi-structured interviews in a cross-sectional survey of maternal psychological factors related to their children's dietary quality. Regression analyses examined statistical predictors of maternal intentions and feeding behaviours.
Results: Mothers of children with poorer quality diets were less likely than others to provide breakfast every day, cook from 'scratch' and provide 'proper sit-down meals'. TPB socio-cognitive factors (intentions, perceived behavioural control) significantly predicted these three behaviours, and attitudes, norms, and perceived behavioural control significantly predicted mothers' intentions, with medium to large effect sizes.
Conclusions: Interventions to improve young children's dietary health could benefit from a focus on modifying maternal motivations and attitudes in attempts to improve feeding behaviours.
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity: Volume 8