Coping with Time Pressure and Stress: Consequences for Families’ Food Consumption
This study explores the coping strategies that families apply when under time pressure and stress (time stress), and how such strategies affect food consumption at dinnertime. The data were based on photo interviewing methodology with a sample of 12 Norwegian children (ages seven and eight) and their parents. In this case, the children were asked to take photographs during their dinners at home and while shopping for groceries with their parents. The findings show that the most dominant explanation for time stress was the children’s participation in sport activities. In this regard, the families applied several coping strategies, such as skipping dinner and eating snacks instead, consuming convenience food, avoiding preference conflicts, planning for healthy dinners, involving children and grandparents in food preparation, and practising compensatory health beliefs and behaviours. This might be the first study that identifies parents’ use of compensatory health beliefs to justify children’s diets. More specifically, the parents stated that the children’s high activity levels could compensate for unhealthy food consumption. The strategies that were applied had varying influences on the families’ food consumption, depending on the parents’ confidence in cooking and meal-planning skills. It was found that parents with high confidence and skills were more likely to make healthy cooking a priority. Consequently, they served more healthy dishes at dinnertime, compared with other parents. Unlike previous studies, the findings indicate that children’s active lifestyles might not be directly related to healthy diets.
This is the accepted manuscript version. Published version at http://doi.org/10.1007/s10603-016-9329-5