Diet and Exercise in Parenthood: A Social Control Perspective.

Academic Article


  • Previous work on social control-the direct and indirect regulation of an individual's health behaviors by others-suggests that parent-child relationships promote healthy diet and exercise. Yet parenthood is associated with less healthy diet and exercise patterns. The authors investigated this paradox by examining social control processes in 40 in-depth interviews with mothers and fathers. They found that parenthood involves social control processes that both promote and compromise healthy behavior, contributing to contradictory perceived effects of parenthood on health behavior. Moreover, the dynamics of social control appear to unfold in different ways for mothers and fathers and depend on the child's gender and life stage, suggesting that gender and age dyads are central to understanding the seemingly contradictory consequences of parenthood at the population level. These articulations of gendered social control processes provide new insight into the consequences of the gendered organization of parenthood for diet and exercise.
  • Published In


  • diet, exercise, gender, parenthood
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Reczek C; Beth Thomeer M; Lodge AC; Umberson D; Underhill M
  • Start Page

  • 1047
  • End Page

  • 1062
  • Volume

  • 76
  • Issue

  • 5