Date of Conferral
Susan L. Rarick
Over 25 million people in the United States are affected by eating disorders, and understanding children's eating style can help determine maladaptive eating behaviors. This study was an investigation of parents' beliefs about their children's eating behaviors in relation to parental work status. Two theoretical frameworks were used to guide the study. Symbolic interactionism focused on communication between parents and children. Social learning theory focused on adolescents possibly learning their eating behaviors from observing their parents' eating habits. The research questions and hypotheses examined if there was a relationship between the work status of parents and their beliefs about maladaptive eating behaviors in their adolescents. This study used the parent-report measure, Children's Eating Behaviour Questionnaire (CEBQ). A nonexperimental causal-comparative quantitative research method was used. The participants included parents who have children between the ages of 6 and 12, and the sample size for this study was 126. A link between parental beliefs and early precursors of disordered eating in adolescents was not established. If patterns of a relationship between parents' work status and beliefs about children's maladaptive eating behaviors had been found, the patterns may have provided the possibility of serving as a factor of early intervention programs. The social change aspect obtained from this study may be that parents can work outside the home or not, and there may be other variables (such as family time, closeness, communication, stress) that may provide more information on how parents perceive children's eating behaviors.