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Title: Psychosocial stressors in the home environment, obesity and socioemotional difficulties across the first decade of life : findings from the Millennium Cohort Study
Author: Creese, Hanna-Marie
ISNI:       0000 0004 7965 011X
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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There are a lack of studies which jointly examine psychosocial stressors in the home environment, socioemotional difficulties and obesity during childhood. This study examined two potential pathways of growing up in households characterised by psychosocial stressors on children's mental wellbeing and obesity across the first decade of life. First, the associations between psychosocial stressors, socioemotional difficulties and obesity were explored. Then, the patterning of socioemotional difficulties and BMI over time was examined. Using the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), cross-sectional and longitudinal logistic regression analysis was employed to analyse the associations for four family level psychosocial stressors (parental limiting longstanding illness, parental relationship change, parent-child conflict and maternal depression) with socioemotional difficulties and obesity at ages 3, 5, 7, and 11 years. All psychosocial stressors were associated with increased odds of socioemotional difficulties, but associations between psychosocial stressors and obesity were found only for stressors pertaining to parental health (parental limiting longstanding illness; parental relationship change; maternal depression; and parent-child conflict). A significant interaction was found for parent-child conflict by parental relationship status, with children in single-parent families, compared to two-parent families, more likely to have socioemotional difficulties after exposure to parent-child conflict. Finally, cross-lagged structural equation modelling was used to analyse the pathways between socioemotional difficulties and body-mass index (BMI) at ages 3, 5, 7, and 11 years, accounting for maternal and family characteristics and psychosocial stressors. For girls only, socioemotional difficulties and BMI were positively correlated in both directions from ages 7 to 11 years. Preadolescent girls with more socioemotional difficulties were more likely to have higher BMI's and similarly, girls with higher BMI's were more likely to have socioemotional difficulties. Policies tackling child health in the UK should take a comprehensive approach to understand the mechanisms which lead to socioemotional difficulties and childhood obesity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available