College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Eating behaviors associated with perceptions of stress among school-age children

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2005

Publication Title

Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing

ISSN

0146-0862

Volume

28

Abstract

Eating has been theorized to be useful as a coping strategy in response to stressful situations. However, investigation of this behavior in children is limited. The present study is a secondary cross-sectional analysis of longitudinal data that were collected from cohorts of fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grader students. Perceived stress was correlated with unhealthy eating behaviors (r = .13, p < .001), as well as with the use of eating as a coping mechanism (r = .24, p < .001). Hispanic children reported using eating as a coping mechanism most frequently, followed by African-American and Caucasian children. School-age children who experience high levels of stress may be at risk for developing unhealthy eating habits in order to cope; continued examination of these relationships is suggested. Future research should focus on the development of interventions to encourage positive coping mechanisms and healthy eating behaviors.

DOI

10.1080/01460860500227580

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