Depressive symptoms, maternal feeding styles, and preschool child’s body weight

Yolanda Flores-Peña, María Eugenia Pérez-Campa, Hermelinda Ávila-Alpirez, Juana Mercedes Gutiérrez-Valverde, Gustavo Gutiérrez-Sánchez



Introduction. Depressive symptoms (DS) can impact maternal child feeding styles (MCFS), and child’s body weight.

Objective. 1. Verify if DS are different depending if the child has, or not, overweight-obesity (OW-OB); 2. Identify the MCFS based on the fact that the child has, or not, OW-OB; 3. Verify it DS are different according to MCFS; 4. Identify DS’s predictors.

Method. Correlational cross-sectional study. The participants were 259 dyads (mother- preschool child) residents in Mexico’ Northeast. Mothers answered the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, Revised, and the Caregiver Feeding Styles Questionnaire. Mann-Whitney U test, Chi-square test, Kruskall-Wallis H, and multiple linear regression analysis were performed.

Results. Twelve point eight percent of the mothers (n = 33) had DS, 35.5% (n = 92) authoritarian MCFS. No significant difference was identified between DS and MCFS according to the child’s OW-OB or lack thereof (U = 5726.0, p > .05 and X2 = .078, gl = 3, p > .05). A significant positive correlation was found between DS and MCFS demandingness (rs = .208, p = .001). The authoritarian MCFS had the highest DS mean (H = 10.70, gl = 3, p < .05). The demandingness predicts the DS (X2 = 826.445, gl = 1, p = .001).

Discussion and conclusion. Authoritarian MCFS predominated, DS were higher in mothers with authoritarian MCFS; demandingness predicts DS. It is recommended to promote authoritarian MCFS which favors the development of healthy eating habits.


Depression; body weight; preschool; feeding; mother-child relationships; overweight

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