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The Health and Diet of Middle Class Chinese and English Women in Midlife: A Comparative Study on the Impact of Family Relations and Work-Related Stress on Everyday Diet and Health 

Horswill, Dorothy Yoon Yeet. (2005) The Health and Diet of Middle Class Chinese and English Women in Midlife: A Comparative Study on the Impact of Family Relations and Work-Related Stress on Everyday Diet and Health  Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

This exploratory study investigated whether Chinese and English cultural influences or social structural characteristics, associated with gender relations and family structure, had a greater impact on the overall quality of the diet of Chinese and English middle class women in midlife. The comparative study involved semi-structured tape-recorded interviews (with qualitative in-depth probing), and Food and Drink Questionnaires, with 36 Chinese women and 26 English women (aged 40 - 60). To select and find the sample of Chinese and English women with comparable demographic and socio-economic status characteristics, a modified snowball sampling method was applied. In the analysis of the Food and Drink Questionnaires, separate diet scores were calculated as indicators of women’s quality of diet and compared by independent-sample t-tests. The women were found to be only marginally influenced by traditional cultural diets; they were more affected by their knowledge of a nutritious diet and their level of health consciousness. In the process of ‘doing wife/mother’, these women continually sought to balance three aspects of their family’s food consumption. First, to promote their family’s health; second, to cater to their family’s food consumption of ‘eating for pleasure’, foods that could damage their family’s health; and third, to organise meals that promote family well-being. Promoting their family’s well-being included forging family relationships through the social context of eating together, which indirectly assisted women in coping with their own work-related stress. In addition, women with families were constrained by the visibility of the social context of eating with others, from resorting to eating (in excess or for comfort), foods that were detrimental to health, in contrast to women living on their own. In essence, gender relations and family structure had a greater impact on the quality of midlife women’s diet than cultural influences. A key finding was that women’s multiple roles as employees, wives and mothers, imbued with the gendered nature of caring for families, was indirectly beneficial to middle class women’s food consumption.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Horswill, Dorothy Yoon Yeet.
Date : 2005
Additional Information : Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Surrey (United Kingdom), 2005.
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 06 May 2020 11:53
Last Modified : 06 May 2020 11:53
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/855513

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