Self-determination theory and food-related parenting: The Parent Socioemotional Context of Feeding Questionnaire.

There has been wide application of Self-Determination Theory (SDT) to understanding motivation and regulation of eating and weight. Yet, there are no measures of the socioemotional-contextual family conditions in the eating domain, which are identified in SDT and should influence development of eating behavior in young children. Two studies were conducted to develop and validate a measure to assess the SDT socioemotional-contextual dimensions of food-related parenting. These dimensions were derived from extensions of SDT, which argue that autonomy support, warmth, and appropriate structure (as well as low coercion, hostility, and chaos) are the conditions that will fulfill children’s psychological needs for autonomy, relatedness and competence, resulting in more intrinsic motivation and better self-regulation of behavior. In the first study, 230 parents completed the food-related parenting items in reference to their 4- to 8-year-old children, and the factor structure and construct and convergent validity of the items were examined. Generally consistent with SDT, factors suggested 4 food-related socioemotional parenting contexts of supportiveness (autonomy support/warmth), coerciveness (coercion/hostility), structure, and chaos. In a second study of 221 parents, a 24-item Parent Socioemotional Context of Feeding Questionnaire (PSCFQ) was confirmed to have a 4-factor structure. In each study, good reliability was found for each subscale. Construct, convergent, and divergent validity were supported by small to moderate correlations with aspects of child feeding (e.g., restriction) and general parenting styles. PSCFQ subscales were not associated with child BMI, family income or parent education. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)