Dual Versus Single Parental Households and Differences in Maternal Mental Health and Child's Overweight/Obesity

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jaclyn Maher, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: Objectives: Mothers report higher levels of psychological stress than fathers. s. Psychological stress is posited to influence parenting practices that could increase children’s obesity risk. However, previous studies have not investigated several aspects of maternal mental health and the moderating role of household structure on children’s obesity risk. The objective was to investigate associations of maternal mental health with child obesity risk, and whether these associations differed by household structure (single-parent vs. dual parent/multigenerational). Methods: Mothers and their 8–12 year old children (N?=?175 dyads) completed baseline questionnaires on mothers’ mental health and child anthropometrics. Separate logistic regressions assessed associations of standardized maternal mental health indicators with the odds of child overweight/obesity, controlling for child age, and women’s BMI, age, education, employment status, and annual income. Household structure was investigated as a moderator of these relationships. Results: There were no statistically significant relationships between maternal mental health characteristics and odds of child overweight/obesity. Among single mothers only, greater anxiety was associated with higher risk of child overweight/obesity [OR (95% CI)?=?3.67 (1.27–10.62); p?=?0.0163]; and greater life satisfaction was marginally associated with lower risk of child overweight/obesity [OR (95% CI)?=?0.44 (0.19–1.01); p?=?0.0522]. Mothers’ life satisfaction may lower risk for their children’s overweight/obesity, whereas higher anxiety may increase this risk, particularly among children living in single-mother households. Conclusions for Practice: Future interventions could increase resources for single mothers to buffer the effects of stress and lower pediatric obesity risk.

Additional Information

Maternal and Child Health Journal, 23(4), 547-556.
Language: English
Date: 2019
Stress, Pediatrics, Parents, Demography, Obesity

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