Parental Restrictive Feeding with Latino Adolescents: Examining the Role of Adolescent Self-regulation in Associations with Body Mass Index
Latino adolescents in the U.S. are disproportionately affected by obesity compared to adolescents of other racial and ethnic backgrounds. Previous studies have suggested that parental restrictive feeding may serve as a modifiable risk factor. However, given that obesity in youth often develops as a function of a child’s susceptibility for weight gain interacting with their environment, the suggested negative effects of parental restrictive feeding may not generalize across all Latino adolescents. One marker of susceptibility for weight gain in youth is poor self-regulation, which can lead to reliance on others to help regulate eating behavior. However, the potential for self-regulation to modify the effect of parental restrictive feeding on weight outcomes has not been assessed in Latino adolescents. In turn, the primary objective of the present study was to test conditional effects of parental restrictive feeding, based on the self-regulation processes of executive functioning and effortful control, on BMI z-score in Latino adolescents. The study sample consisted of Latino fifth and sixth-graders and their mothers residing in the Midwestern U.S. (N = 123 dyads). Restrictive feeding, BMI z-score, and self-regulation skills were measured across two waves of data collection approximately one year apart. It was hypothesized that the effect of parental restrictive feeding would be moderated by youth self-regulation such that restrictive feeding would predict lower BMI z-scores in adolescents with poorer executive functioning skills and effortful control. Additionally, it was also hypothesized that adolescents with better executive functioning skills and effortful control would have higher BMI z-scores. Results showed that mothers engaged in moderate use of restrictive feeding at both waves. In turn, parental restrictive feeding was a marginally significant positive predictor of concurrent BMI-z-score at wave 1. However, neither executive functioning nor effortful control emerged as significant moderators. These findings demonstrate the need for testing of additional moderators that may condition the effect of restrictive feeding. Future research would also benefit from testing bidirectional associations between parental restrictive feeding and BMI z-score in Latino adolescents.
Taylor, Purdue University.
Public health|Developmental psychology|Individual & family studies
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