Appetite self-regulation develops rapidly during the first 2 years of life, with implications for weight-related health and well-being over the life span. Attachment theory suggests that interpersonal interactions between caregivers and children are part of the biobehavioral system designed to promote the development of self-regulation. However, parent–child dyads are embedded within the family system, which also influences individual differences in appetite self-regulation. In this review, we synthesize research on appetite self-regulation from the perspectives of attachment and family systems theories to identify strengths and limits in how we understand the development of appetite self-regulation. We propose an integrative theoretical framework in which familial and dyadic factors influence appetite self-regulation directly and indirectly via modifications to the quality of parent–child interactions during infancy and early childhood. Finally, we identify avenues for research to test pathways of risk, resilience, and well-being toward optimal appetite self-regulation and weight outcomes.
- appetite self-regulation
- family relations
- mother–child relations
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies