Excessive television (TV) viewing by children can lead to negative health and developmental outcomes. Using structural equation modeling, this study tests a conceptual model to understand social and familial factors associated with TV exposure among a sample of 767 Head Start families with children between the ages of 3 and 5 years. Fit statistics suggested that the overall model provided an acceptable fit to the observed data. Specifically, significant structural paths suggest that parents' social support affects child TV exposure. Additionally, lower levels of social support were associated with significantly greater parental stress, which also predicted child TV exposure. Findings suggest that physicians and other team members of the patient-centered medical home may benefit from broad-based interventions that address familial factors to combat excess TV exposure among children. Urging parents to turn off the TV could fail to address the underlying causes of child TV exposure.
Keywords: Head Start; children; parental stress; social support; television.