Exploring the influence of context on social norms around Australian parents’ food provision using story completion

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Objective: To explore the differences in social norms around parents' food provision in different provision contexts and by demographics. Design: Qualitative study using story completion methodology via an online survey in September 2021. Adults 18+ with or without children were randomised to one of three story stems focusing on food provision in different contexts; food provision at home (non-visitor), with visitors present and with the involvement of sport. Stories were coded and themed using thematic analysis. A content analysis was performed to determine count and frequency of codes in stories by participant demographics and story assumptions. Setting: Australia. Participants: Adults (n 196). Results: Nine themes were identified from the data resulting in four social norms around providing healthy foods and justifying non-adherence to healthy eating guidelines, evolution of family life and mealtime values, the presence of others influencing how we engage with food provision and unhealthy foods used as incentives/rewards in sport. Following content analysis, no differences of themes or norms by participant demographics or story assumptions were found. Conclusions: We identified pervasive social norms around family food provision and further identified how contextual factors resulted in variations or distinct norms. This highlights the impact context may have on the social norms parents face when providing food to their children and the opportunities and risks of leveraging these social norms to influence food choice in these contexts. Public health interventions and practitioners should understand the influence of context and social environments when promoting behaviour change and providing individualised advice. Future research could explore parents' experiences of these norms and to what extent they impact food choice.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere110
Number of pages13
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2024


  • caregiver
  • children
  • food provision
  • home
  • qualitative
  • social norms
  • sport
  • visitors
  • Caregiver
  • Visitors
  • Qualitative
  • Social norms
  • Sport
  • Children
  • Home


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