The complexities of family mealtimes in the 21st century: A latent profile analysis

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The goal of the present study was to characterize more than 500 families regarding family mealtime organization patterns. Family profiles were developed based on patterns detected across a set of sociological and psychological variables. Latent profile analyses indicated three distinct subgroups of families: Food Secure and Organized (55% of the sample), Very Low Food Security and Disorganized (27%), and Low Food Security and Organized (18%). Examination of group membership correlates revealed significant differences related to family mealtime behaviors and food preparation strategies, but not food shopping location or areas of requested change around family mealtimes. Findings highlight homogenous subgroups of families on the basis of co-occurring psychological and sociological factors pertinent to family mealtimes, with those families possessing the highest levels of risk in multiple domains also reporting family mealtime organization patterns associated with less healthy eating. Findings provide a snapshot into the organization, and complexities, of family meals for the American family today, highlighting the need for researchers and practitioners interested in promoting healthy food intake within American families to consider both psychological and sociological factors that influence family mealtime organization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105009
StatePublished - Feb 1 2021


  • Family
  • Food insecurity
  • Household organization
  • Latent profile analysis
  • Mealtime

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • General Psychology


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