Monday, April 06, 2009

Monday Morning Muddle Study

Just for the fun of it. Did you know that depressed women give their children unhealthier food? Or perhaps not! Perhaps depressed women force their children to eat well as a control issue? Or both! Yasss...

- We found that mothers who were emotionally unstable, anxious, angry, sad, had poor self-confidence or a negative view of the world were far more likely to give their child sweet and fatty foods. At the same time, there was no link between maternal personality and how healthy a diet the child got in the form of fruit and vegetables, explains psychologist Eivind Ystrøm at the NIPH.

These maternal personality traits fall under a collective name of high negative affectivity (negative emotions). These people often have a lower stress threshold, giving up quicker when faced with obstacles – e.g. in a disagreement – and often experience lack of control of the child.

- I think that mothers compensate for this either by trying to force healthy food into their child or hold the sweet-bag strings extra tightly. Paradoxically, they try to balance poor control by actually using more control. With force and restrictions they increase desire which quickly results in resistance in the form of tantrums which these mothers are also bad at resisting. Also, earlier studies have shown that controlling behaviour among parents is linked with a more sugar-rich diet among children.

And what would be the reason to study this? To give the mothers some help BECAUSE otherwise they feed their children bad foods? Why not give them some help because they themselves deserve it? It's odd how hard it is to justify something like that, isn't it?

But of course I'm being unfair here and the study is probably a whole lot more honest than most of those what's-wrong-with-women studies that I discuss, as it dares to point out some of the complications. Likewise, people in the academia must publish something, and so we get lots of studies. Lots.