Parents under Fire: The Role of Parental Stress and Parenting Involvement in Children’s Media Use, Obesity and Academic Skills

Elizabeth A. Vandewater, University of Texas at Austin
Seoung Eun Park, University of Texas at Austin
Laurence M. Denis, University of Texas at Austin

This study examined the question of whether the relationships among heavy TV viewing, childhood obesity and poor academic performance are in fact due to a common cause in the family system – namely diminished parental involvement. We examined a model positing that stress experienced by parents diminishes parenting involvement, which in turn predicts childhood obesity, television use, and poor academic performance five years later utilizing longitudinal data from the Child Development Supplement (CDS-I; CDS-II). The model fit the data extremely well. Results are discussed in the context of assumptions that television viewing is causally linked to childhood obesity and intervention strategies aimed at reducing television viewing to reduce obesity.

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Presented in Session 64: Parental Influences on Childhood Obesity