Title

Using an Ecological Framework to Understand Parent–Child Communication about Nutritional Decision-Making and Behavior

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2013

Keywords

ecological framework, parent-child communication, nutrition, decision-making, behavior

Abstract

Investigating the content of communication about food and nutrition in the parent–child dyad can provide insight into how roles and rules associated with food are instantiated within the family context. The current study uses an ecological framework to consider the multiple levels of influence on communication and dietary behavior in families. Interviews (N = 33) were conducted with parents and children from low-income families in two different counties within a Midwestern state. Interview transcripts were analyzed using categories developed from the ecological framework. Geographic information systems technology data also provided information about dyads' external food environment and available food options. Results indicate low levels of communication about food choices between parents and children, as well as low involvement from children in food selection and preparation. Findings also identify the accessibility of healthy food and financial considerations as key barriers to facilitating nutritional choices. Strategies for designing interventions that encourage initiation of familial discussions about food, promote positive nutritional role models, and highlight the importance of positive feedback and rewards for healthy food decision-making behaviors are discussed.

Publication Title

Journal of Applied Communication Research

Volume

41

Issue

3

First Page

253

Last Page

274

DOI of Published Version

10.1080/00909882.2013.792434

Publisher

Taylor & Francis