Correlations between family meals and psychosocial well-being among adolescents

Marla E. Eisenberg, Rachel E. Olson, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Mary Story, Linda H. Bearinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

272 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To determine the association between frequency of family meals and multiple indicators of adolescent health and well-being (tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use; academic performance; self-esteem; depressive symptoms; and suicide involvement) after controlling for family connectedness. Methods: Data come from a 1998-1999 school-based survey of 4746 adolescents from ethnically and socio-economically diverse communities in the Minneapolis/St Paul, Minn, metropolitan area. Logistic regression, controlling for family connectedness and sociodemographic variables, was used to identify relationships between family meals and adolescent health behaviors. Results: Approximately one quarter (26.8%) of respondents ate 7 or more family meals in the past week, and approximately one quarter (23.1%) ate family meals 2 times or less. Frequency of family meals was inversely associated with tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use; low grade point average; depressive symptoms; and suicide involvement after controlling for family connectedness (odds ratios, 0.76-0.93). Conclusions: Findings suggest that eating family meals may enhance the health and well-being of adolescents. Public education on the benefits of family mealtime is recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)792-796
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Volume158
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2004

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