Date of Award

8-2014

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Food Science and Human Nutrition

Advisor

Adrienne A. White

Second Committee Member

Dorothy Klimis-Zacas

Third Committee Member

James S. Bates

Abstract

iCook is a 5-state childhood obesity prevention research project for 9-10 year old children and their adult primary food preparer, designed to increase family togetherness through cooking, family meals, physical activity, and communication. The objective of the current study is to identify characteristics of family dynamics and quality of life and their relationships assessed during the baseline of the pilot study. Family dynamics of cohesion, flexibility, communication and satisfaction were assessed using the 62-item Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scale IV (FACES IV). Quality of life indicators for overall general health and physical and mental health were assessed using the 14- item Centers for Disease Control's Health-Related Quality of Life instrument. Adults (n=50; mean age=38.4±5.7 years) completed the online survey. Slightly over half (n=27; 54%) had at least an Associate's Degree and 30% (n=15) reported participating in some form of food assistance program. Most were married, White, fairly well educated, with a mean body mass index of 30. They were from the five states of Maine, Nebraska, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia. The families were characterized as connected (having cohesion) and flexible. For 54% (n=27) family communication was defined as moderate, or they felt "generally good" but had some concerns. Of the sample, 38% had low communication, meaning they had concerns about the quality of communication. Family satisfaction ranged from very high (16%)—they were very satisfied and really enjoyed their families—to very low (12%)—they were very dissatisfied and were concerned about their families. Participants who reported higher family satisfaction reported higher overall general health (r=0.381; P=0.008) and more days/month feeling healthy and full of energy (r=0.346; P=0.02) and less days of depression (r=-0.525; P=0.001) and worry (r=-0.441, P=0.001). Greater family flexibility was negatively correlated with fewer number of days per month feeling worried or anxious (r=-0.342, P=0.02). This study was unique in the investigation of family dynamics and relationship to quality of life in adults with 9-10 year old children. It is important to study family dynamics and quality of life in the context of a program focused on impacting family communication and togetherness through cooking, family meals, and physical activity.

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