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An exploratory study of the effects of perceived early childhood attachment and care status on young peoples’ eating behaviour.

Kelly, AR and Ogden, JE (2016) An exploratory study of the effects of perceived early childhood attachment and care status on young peoples’ eating behaviour. Adoption and Fostering.

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Abstract

Research suggests a link between being in care and eating problems. The present study compared the eating behaviour of looked after young people and their non-looked after peers with a focus on the role of their perceived early childhood attachments. Looked-after young people completed questionnaires about their perceived and unresolved attachment to their main caregiver during early childhood (aged 0 to 5), their level of picky eating and food disgust and the meanings they ascribed to food. They then nominated a non-looked after friend to complete the same measures. The results showed that looked-after young people reported poorer scores on all aspects of early childhood attachments and were more like to be ‘picky eaters’ and to find food disgusting. Further, they rated food as less embedded with meanings relating to sexuality, family life, a treat and social interaction. In addition, although care status independently predicted picky eating, food disgust and a belief that food was central to family life and social interaction, unresolved attachment was a better predictor of these variables. Further, unresolved attachment also significantly predicted a belief that food was a means to take control over one’s life. Being brought up in care is associated with eating problems and a less engaged approach to food. Poor attachment is a powerful explanation of this association. Carers and other professionals are key to the development of trusting relationships with looked after young people. Such secure attachments with carers and other professionals may enable looked after young people to foster a more positive relationship with food.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : Psychology
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
AuthorsEmailORCID
Kelly, ARUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Ogden, JEUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date : 2016
Copyright Disclaimer : Copyright 2016 Sage Publications
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 07 Jun 2016 12:07
Last Modified : 07 Jun 2016 12:07
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/810941

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