Date of Award
Master of Science
Behavior Analysis and Therapy
Research has shown that there are many benefits to families who communicate and have meals together. Families who sit together for meals are more likely to: eat more nutritiously, have teens that are less likely to be involved in risky behavior, and have children with better language skills and academic scores (The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 2010). The current study evaluated the effectiveness of a "Meal Wheel" to promote parent and child conversation during meals among families with a history of child abuse and neglect. The Meal Wheel was a wooden Lazy Susan that had interchangeable picture frames containing conversation topics. Four families living in southern Illinois participated in the study as part of their parent training services received by Project 12-Ways. Two families received standard Project 12-Ways Meal Training which consisted of explaining, modeling, and prompting steps involved in completing the Meal Routine. The "Meal Wheel" was used with all four families during meal and limited instructions were given for completing steps within the meal routine. The results indicated increases in both parent and child positive verbals and decreases in negative affect and verbals for all 4 families who participated. The limitations of the study and its implications for families, especially families with a history of child abuse and neglect, are discussed.
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