Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Gorman, Kathleen

Abstract

The purpose of this study was twofold: To investigate the association between parental feeding styles (authoritarian, authoritative and permissive) and maternal locus of control orientation, and to determine whether depression moderated the relationship between feeding style and locus of control. Participants were 68-English speaking mothers of preschool age children (3 to 5), who participated in two previous studies. Measures of parental feeding style, maternal depression, and locus of control, as well as basic demographic data were drawn from larger interview batteries administered as part of the previous studies.

It was hypothesized that a more internal locus of control orientation would be associated with an authoritative feeding style, while a more external locus of control would be associated with permissive and authoritarian feeding styles. Depression was expected to moderate the relationship between a more external locus of control and authoritarian and permissive feeding styles, such that an external locus of control would be associated with authoritarian feeding style when levels of depression were lower and a permissive feeding style when levels of depression were higher.

Contrary to hypotheses, a permissive feeding style was associated with a more internal locus of control. No association was found between locus of control and authoritarian or authoritative feeding styles. Additionally, no feeding style was associated with depression. It is suggested that future research examine the bidirectional nature of the parent-child relationship and its affects on maternal locus of control and feeding style.

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