Previous studies have indicated that only children (i.e., children without siblings) have a greater risk of being overweight and/or obese than children with siblings. The present study aimed to explore how family factors, such as maternal warmth and marital relationships, are associated with the weight status of only children in China.
The sample was comprised of 395 mothers (M = 32.95 years old, SD= 3.18) with only children (M = 61.32 months, SD= 9.32) in Shanghai, China. Mothers completed questionnaires assessing maternal warmth and marital satisfaction. In addition, they reported their children’s weight and height, which was used to calculate the children’s body mass index (BMI) and overweight/obese status.
Maternal warmth was negatively related to only children’s BMI and overweight/obese status. Marital satisfaction, on the other hand, was only negatively related to only children’s BMI. In addition, maternal warmth had a mediating role in the association between marital satisfaction and children’s BMI.
The findings may enhance our understanding of how family functioning influences only children’s weight.