Studies on childhood obesity has shown that parents’ body mass index (BMI) represents an important risk factor for the development of childhood obesity. As biological and environmental factors account for the transgenerational transmission of obesity only in part, more attention has been paid to psychological mechanisms explaining the effects of parental weight on children’s weight. The issue of parents’ dysregulated emotional response has received increasing support in studies and parallels have been drawn between how children develop emotion and energy-intake regulation, but little is still known about how parental responses to children's emotions are related to eating. As parental reflective functioning (PRF), which lays the foundation for the children’s ability to regulate emotions, has not yet been investigated, the present study aims to evaluate whether mothers’ and fathers’ BMI and PRF are associated with children’s weight. With a sample of 120 parents (60 mothers + 60 fathers) of 60 children aged 6-11 (M=8.77, SD=1.68) with normal-weight (n = 30) and with an obesity onset before 3 years of age (n = 30), a hierarchical regression was performed in order to determine the predictive power of PRF (assessed with Parental Reflective Functioning Questionnaire – PRFQ) on children’s BMI z-score, above and beyond the mothers’ and fathers’ BMI. Data shows that the best model includes parents’ BMI and mother’s low PRF. The model is significant (F=6.71, p < .001) and explains over 27 % of the variance of child’s weight. The effect of the mother’s tendency to be overly certain of child’s mental states is significant (b= .44, p < .05), above and beyond the parents’ BMI. The current exploratory findings, if confirmed by future studies, shows an interesting effect of PRF on children’s weight, with important implications on both clinical and research field.

Childhood obesity and parental reflective functioning: which connections?

Pazzagli Chiara;Buratta Livia;Mazzeschi Claudia
2018

Abstract

Studies on childhood obesity has shown that parents’ body mass index (BMI) represents an important risk factor for the development of childhood obesity. As biological and environmental factors account for the transgenerational transmission of obesity only in part, more attention has been paid to psychological mechanisms explaining the effects of parental weight on children’s weight. The issue of parents’ dysregulated emotional response has received increasing support in studies and parallels have been drawn between how children develop emotion and energy-intake regulation, but little is still known about how parental responses to children's emotions are related to eating. As parental reflective functioning (PRF), which lays the foundation for the children’s ability to regulate emotions, has not yet been investigated, the present study aims to evaluate whether mothers’ and fathers’ BMI and PRF are associated with children’s weight. With a sample of 120 parents (60 mothers + 60 fathers) of 60 children aged 6-11 (M=8.77, SD=1.68) with normal-weight (n = 30) and with an obesity onset before 3 years of age (n = 30), a hierarchical regression was performed in order to determine the predictive power of PRF (assessed with Parental Reflective Functioning Questionnaire – PRFQ) on children’s BMI z-score, above and beyond the mothers’ and fathers’ BMI. Data shows that the best model includes parents’ BMI and mother’s low PRF. The model is significant (F=6.71, p < .001) and explains over 27 % of the variance of child’s weight. The effect of the mother’s tendency to be overly certain of child’s mental states is significant (b= .44, p < .05), above and beyond the parents’ BMI. The current exploratory findings, if confirmed by future studies, shows an interesting effect of PRF on children’s weight, with important implications on both clinical and research field.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11573/1653379
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