Correlations Between Family Meals and Psychosocial Well-Being Among Adolescents

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004 Aug;158(8):792-6. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.158.8.792.

Abstract

Objective: To determine the association between frequency of family meals and multiple indicators of adolescent health and well-being (tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use; academic performance; self-esteem; depressive symptoms; and suicide involvement) after controlling for family connectedness.

Methods: Data come from a 1998-1999 school-based survey of 4746 adolescents from ethnically and socioeconomically diverse communities in the Minneapolis/St Paul, Minn, metropolitan area. Logistic regression, controlling for family connectedness and sociodemographic variables, was used to identify relationships between family meals and adolescent health behaviors.

Results: Approximately one quarter (26.8%) of respondents ate 7 or more family meals in the past week, and approximately one quarter (23.1%) ate family meals 2 times or less. Frequency of family meals was inversely associated with tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use; low grade point average; depressive symptoms; and suicide involvement after controlling for family connectedness (odds ratios, 0.76-0.93).

Conclusions: Findings suggest that eating family meals may enhance the health and well-being of adolescents. Public education on the benefits of family mealtime is recommended.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Family Relations*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Minnesota / epidemiology
  • Sex Distribution
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data