Parental stress is associated with increased obesogenic family lifestyle behaviors contributing to childhood obesity. Novel interventions are needed to reduce parental stress and improve healthy lifestyle behaviors for preschool-age children and families. The primary study aim was to analyze preliminary effects of a digitally enhanced evidence-based cognitive- behavior skill-building (CBSB) intervention on parental stress and healthy lifestyle behaviors (diet and physical activity) among parents of preschool-age children. A secondary aim was to evaluate feasibility/acceptability of this school-based virtual intervention during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 12-week intervention involved text messaging and three pre-recorded CBSB educational video presentations accessed by parents of preschool-age children (n=21) from a password-protected website. The Healthy Child Healthy Family Behavior Checklist (HCHF) measured lifestyle behaviors. Parent stress was measured using the self-reported Parental Stress Scale (PSS) and parents' hair cortisol concentration (HCC) levels. Paired t-tests/Wilcoxon signed rank tests determined pre/post-intervention differences among healthy family lifestyle behaviors and parental stress. Pearson/Spearman Rho correlations determined if significant relationships existed between parent stress and healthy family lifestyle behaviors. Both parent stress measures were significantly reduced post-intervention (p< .05). A modest increase in HCHF from baseline (M=60.38; SD=6.48) to post-intervention (M=61.43; SD=6.85); [t(20)= -0.695, p=0.487)] was non-significant. No significant correlations were found among the parental stress and HCHF variables. All parental responses about text messaging were positive and most (86%) reported that messages motivated healthy behavior changes. Digitally enhanced CBSB virtually delivered interventions with parents in a school-based setting are feasible/acceptable and may potentially improve parental stress and family lifestyle behaviors.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Nursing
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Smith, Sharlene, "A Digitally Enhanced Virtual Cognitive Behavior Skill Building Intervention to Reduce Parent Stress and Family Obesogenic Behaviors" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1665.