Influences of Child Temperament and Household Chaos on Preschoolers' Emotional Eating

Sehyun Ju, Samantha Iwinski, Barbara H. Fiese, Brent A. McBride, Kelly K. Bost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Emotional eating has been linked to child temperament and family environment factors, such as household chaos. However, few studies have examined how child and home characteristics independently and together influence children's overeating and undereating in response to negative emotions. Objective: The current study examined associations among child temperament, household chaos, and emotional eating in children 18-24 months of age, and interaction effects were also tested. Methods: The study included an analysis sample of 371 families participating in the larger STRONG Kids2 longitudinal birth cohort study (N = 468). The Early Childhood Behavior Questionnaire was used to assess child temperament at 18 months, and the Confusion, Hubbub, and Order Scale was used to assess disorganization in the household at 24 months. Child emotional eating at 24 months was assessed using parental reports of the Child Eating Behavior Questionnaire. Results: Negative affectivity and household chaos were independently associated with child emotional overeating. Negative affectivity, effortful control, and household chaos were significantly associated with emotional undereating. No significant interactions were found. Conclusions: Child temperament and household environment independently influence emotional eating in young children, highlighting the need to consider these factors in early prevention. Longitudinal studies are warranted to determine mechanisms that may be involved in these relations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)523-532
Number of pages10
JournalChildhood Obesity
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2022


  • child obesity
  • child temperament
  • eating behaviors
  • emotional eating
  • household chaos
  • self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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