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Motivation, Attitudes, and Diet Quality Among US Parents and Adolescents

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Objectives: In this paper, we assessed interdependent associations between food-related psychosocial traits and diet quality (ie, healthy and ultra-processed food consumption) among parent-adolescent dyads. Methods: This secondary analysis used data from the Family, Life, Activity, Sun and Health (FLASHE) study, which measured diet and other health behaviors in American parent-adolescent dyads (N = 1646). Actor-Partner Interdependence Models were used to apply a dyadic extension of the Theory of Planned Behavior and Social Determination Theory constructs (motivation, attitudes and self-efficacy) in relation to healthy and ultra-processed food (UPF) consumption. Results: Parent (b = 0.46, p < .01) and adolescent motivation (b = 0.42, p < .01) had positive actor effects on healthy food consumption. Parental attitudes had a negative actor effect (b = -0.20, p < .01) and adolescent attitudes had a positive actor effect (b = 0.34, p < .01) on healthy food consumption. Parent (b = -0.18, p < .01) and adolescent motivation (b = -0.14, p < .01) had negative actor effects on UPF consumption. No significant partner effects were found. Conclusions: Food-related psychosocial traits are associated with parent and adolescent diet quality. Interventions and guidelines that aim to strengthen an individual's ability to make healthful dietary choices, particularly those focused on reducing UPF consumption, are warranted, and may benefit from drawing on behavioral theories, especially those focused on motivational traits.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Katherine Baker, Cornell University, Division of Nutritional Sciences, Ithaca, NY, United States;, Email: [email protected] 2: Roger Figueroa, Cornell University, Division of Nutritional Sciences, Ithaca, NY, United States

Publication date: January 1, 2021

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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