The Family Meal Framework: A grounded theory study conceptualising the work that underpins the family meal

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Abstract

The family meal has been recognised as an integral part of family life. With the positive health outcomes associated with the family meal, it has been proposed as a strategy for encouraging health-promoting behaviours. However, a detailed understanding of the physical and mental work required to execute the family meal is lacking. The aim of this research was to conduct a grounded theory study to understand the components required to successfully execute the family meal. Two temporal data sets (1993–4/2020) in which diverse participants were sampled were used for this study. Methods used to conduct qualitative interviews with parents in the 1990s were mirrored in the conduct of qualitative interviews with parents in 2020. The interview data was analysed drawing on grounded theory methodology and methods. The entire sample included 54 parents from 28 families. A conceptual framework, ‘The Family Meal Framework’, was developed from the analyses. The five main components of The Framework are the cognitions (invisible work considering the needs of the family), actions (physical tasks required for the family meal), outcomes (the event of the family meal), the beliefs and feelings (expectations and attitudes toward the family meal), and the person(s) responsible (who undertakes the work). This framework provides a novel theory describing the reactive, cyclical nature of the work required to execute the family meal. This new understanding provides discrete opportunities for intervention in family meal research, practice, policy and promotion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106071
Number of pages13
JournalAppetite
Volume175
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022

Keywords

  • Family meal
  • Food provision
  • Food work
  • Framework
  • Grounded theory
  • Nutrition

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