College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Summer 8-21-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Jocelyn Carter, PhD

Second Advisor

Antonio Polo, PhD


This capstone examines how child temperament and parenting style predict child BMI in a sample of low income, ethnic minority children 1-4 years old, as well as the moderating role of parenting style in child temperament predicting child BMI. Dimensions of both child temperament and parenting style have been found to be protective of high child BMI in pediatric populations. Few studies have explored the longitudinal relationship between child temperament and parenting style and child BMI, and even fewer have examined the interaction between the two in predicting child BMI. This study includes measures of child temperament, parenting style, and child BMI from Wave 1 and Wave 2 of the Three City Study, and presents a dimensional framework of child temperament and parenting style, and the interaction between the two, in predicting child BMI. Dimensions of child temperament were not found to predict child BMI, longitudinally. Authoritarian parenting style was longitudinally predictive of child BMI, but in the opposite direction in which higher authoritarian parenting style was predictive of lower BMI. This finding may be due to differences in ethnic minority children’s authoritarian parenting style. No interaction effects between child temperament and parenting style were found to be predictive of child BMI. The findings of this study illustrate that authoritarian parenting style may serve as a protective factor of child BMI in children in low income, ethnic minority populations. Future research should focus on understanding underlying mechanisms, as well as obtain more comprehensive measures of parenting style and child temperament, to assist in the development of prevention and intervention obesity programs.

SLP Collection


Included in

Psychology Commons