Working patterns and food behaviour within the context of family life.

HAMBLY, Rachel. (2002). Working patterns and food behaviour within the context of family life. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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In recent years, there has been concern about the impact of work on family life, particularly the effect that current working patterns may have on food behaviour (food provision, food consumption and eating patterns) within the home. Increased female employment and long working hours may affect family functioning though little has been done to model any association. There is evidence of less food preparation within the home, increased consumption of convenience products and fragmented meal times. In addition lack of time, irregular working hours and busy lifestyle have been identified as barriers to adopting a healthier diet Lappalainen et al (1998); suggesting those elements of work and time may also determine the relative healthiness of the diet. The effect this may have on future generations is unknown, but if less time is spent in food related activities within the home then there may be fewer opportunities for children to gain practical food knowledge and skills. Time constraints, experienced because of work, may possibly be eased by the use of time saving strategies and products. The main food provider's practical food knowledge, attitude and cooking skills may ameliorate the impact of work on food behaviour. Whilst previous academic research has explored changing patterns of work and food consumption independently, this study is original in its attempt to combine these separate disciplines. The aim of this research was to develop, build and test a theoretical model for exploring the relationship between working patterns and food behaviour. Following a systematic review of the literature, a conceptual framework was built to identify the key dimensions of work, food behaviour and the factors that may influence it. This was used in the development of a postal survey instrument to measure and test the research hypotheses. The sample was made up of 642 households, with children aged between 8-10 years old, (a response rate of 22%). Data was established on household patterns of eating and working in terms of the critical dimensions identified. This included food behaviour (food provider behaviour, eating behaviour of the household, healthy eating profile, shopping and cooking behaviours) and working patterns (hours, job satisfaction and time factors). Statistical analysis of the data was completed; descriptive statistics, analysis of variance and principal components were used to establish valid conclusions about relationships and test hypotheses. The findings of the research revealed no direct association between the number of hours worked and household food behaviour; although working hours were associated with greater shared responsibility for food related tasks. This may have positive implications for working parents as the results suggest that work commitments do not automatically lead to deterioration in eating patterns with unhealthy food choices being made. An association was found between the nutrition knowledge, attitudes and skills of the main food provider and consumption of certain types of foods. The impact of work patterns on food behaviour therefore cannot simply be explained by the management and redistribution of time. Qualitative analysis reveals suggests coping strategies and the value placed on time for food and a healthy diet to be the main determinants of food behaviour. Knowledge, skills and attitudes may lead to the development of more effective coping strategies when dealing with work and home responsibilities. The implications of these, findings are discussed and recommendations are made for future work.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Le Grys, Geoff
Additional Information: Thesis (Ph.D.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2002.
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:20
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 13:09

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