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Although the way children/adolescents regulate their emotions (e.g., by eating) may be related to their parents’ emotion regulation abilities and parenting practices, little is known about how these parental variables are associated with children/adolescents’ emotional eating, particularly when children/adolescents have overweight/obesity. This study explores whether mothers’ difficulties in emotion regulation (DER) are associated with emotional eating in children/adolescents with overweight/obesity through mindful parenting skills and children/adolescents’ depressive symptoms. The sample includes 379 mother-child/adolescent dyads recruited in public schools and in nutrition outpatient services of pediatric hospitals. Mothers completed self-report measures of DER and mindful parenting, and children/adolescents completed measures of depressive symptoms and emotional eating. Higher levels of mothers’ DER were associated with higher levels of children/adolescents’ depressive symptoms through lower levels of mindful parenting (indirect effect = 0.09, p = 0.002, 95% CI [0.03, 0.15]), and higher levels of mindful parenting were associated with lower levels of children/adolescents’ emotional eating through lower levels of children/adolescents’ depressive symptoms (indirect effect = − 0.07, p = 0.002, 95% CI [− .12, − .02]). The model was invariant across dyads recruited in schools and in hospitals and across children and adolescents. This study highlights the role of mothers’ DER (particularly, limited access to emotion regulation strategies, non-acceptance of emotional responses, impulse control difficulties, and lack of emotional awareness) and of mindful parenting (particularly, listening with full attention, emotional awareness of the child, and self-regulation in parenting) on children/adolescents’ depressive symptoms and emotional eating. Mothers’ emotion regulation and mindful parenting should be further investigated in the pediatric obesity field.
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- Linking Mothers’ Difficulties in Emotion Regulation to Children/Adolescents’ Emotional Eating in Pediatric Obesity: the Mediating Role of Mindful Parenting and Children/Adolescents’ Depressive Symptoms
Maria João R. Gouveia
Maria Cristina C. S. P. Canavarro
Helena T. C. Moreira
- Springer US