Poster Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition
Poster Board Number: 121
Objectives: This research examined associations of earlier food insecurity (FI) with later parenting practices and how changes in FI were associated with changes in parenting from infancy to early childhood.
Methods: Data used were from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Birth Cohort. Parental interviews and child assessments were conducted when children were about 9 months and 2, 4, and 5.5-years old. Dependent variables were multiple dimensions of parenting: parent's performance in parent-child interaction (general parenting); difficulty sticking to rules, use of violent discipline, use of non-violent discipline, house rules (structural parenting); rules about food, frequency of having evening meals as family, and evening meals at a regular time (food-related parenting). Using full information maximum likelihood regression stratified by child's gender, each parenting outcome was modeled first with lagged FI, then both lagged and concurrent FI, controlling for child, parent, and contextual covariates. Cases were included in the analysis if having no missing data for the outcome variable.
Results: Associations between earlier FI and later parenting before 6 years of age differed by child's gender. For boys, earlier FI was associated with 3 dimensions of later parenting: difficulty sticking with rules, rules about food, and evening meals at a regular time. For girls, earlier FI was additionally associated with use of violent discipline and use of non-violent discipline. Changes in FI from 9 months to 5.5-years were associated with changes in more parenting outcomes for girls (all examined parenting practices, except parent's performance in parent-child interaction) than boys (only with rules about food and evening meals at a regular time). For some outcomes (e.g., food-related parenting), consistent FI or moving into FI at 2- or 4-years was negatively related to changes in parenting practices despite later improvement in the FI situation.
Conclusions: Earlier FI was negatively related to later parenting, and consistent FI or moving into FI at 2- or 4-years was negatively associated with parenting in early childhood, especially for girls. Interventions to improve family FI need to be early and persistent throughout early childhood for optimal parenting outcomes.
M.A., Ph.D. candidate
Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, University of South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina