Revisiting a neglected construct: parenting styles in a child-feeding context

Appetite. 2005 Feb;44(1):83-92. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2004.08.007. Epub 2004 Nov 13.


The extent to which general parenting represents feeding styles in ethnically diverse populations is not well documented. Existing measures of child feeding have focused almost exclusively on specific behaviors of European-American parents. A valid and reliable instrument was developed to identify feeding styles in parents of low-income minority preschoolers. Two hundred thirty-one parents (130 Hispanic; 101 African-American) completed questionnaires on feeding practices and parenting styles. Based on self-reported feeding behavior, parents were assigned to four feeding styles (authoritarian, n=84; authoritative, n=34; indulgent, n=80; and uninvolved, n=33). Convergent validity was evaluated by relating feeding styles to independent measures of general parenting and authoritarian feeding practices. Authoritarian feeding styles were associated with higher levels of general parental control and authoritarian feeding practices. Alternatively, authoritative feeding styles were associated with higher levels of general parental responsiveness. Among the two permissive feeding styles, Hispanic parents were more likely to be indulgent, whereas African-American parents were more likely to be uninvolved. Further, differences were found among the feeding styles on an independent measure of child's body mass index.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Black or African American*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child, Preschool
  • Eating / physiology
  • Eating / psychology*
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations / ethnology
  • Parenting / ethnology*
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Texas