Regular family meal times have been associated with enhanced family cohesion and positive developmental outcomes for children–youth, especially in White and/or middle-class families. Less is known about the meal time experiences of low-income African American families. Guided by a family resilience perspective, this study examines meal times among a sample of low-income African American caregivers of preschoolers in an inner-city neighborhood. We conducted in-depth qualitative interviews and a photo elicitation interview with 11 low-income African American caregivers about their family meal time experiences. We found that caregivers valued family meal times and acknowledged their benefits for family life. However, competing demands such as family schedules, household configurations, chores, time pressures, fast food restaurants, and low-wage work affected the schedule and structure of meal times. This study adds to discussions of family meal times among low-income African American families and provides suggestions for enhancing mealtimes through culturally and developmentally appropriate interventions.
- African American families
- meal times
- preschool children
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)