The indirect effects of promotion: an exploratory study of food consumption with children, parents, and peers

Michele Roberts

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated abstract] There is an abundance of literature concerning the effects that food advertising has on children's diets. Several reviews of the literature have concluded that this body of research provides sufficient evidence that advertising has modest, direct effects on what children eat. However, the Australian Senate and the Australian Communications and Media Authority argue that there is insufficient evidence to justify further regulation of food promotion in Australia. It would appear that new avenues of enquiry are needed to understand the influence of food promotion on children's diets and to inform policy decisions dealing with child obesity. Researchers have suggested that studies of indirect effects could provide evidence of greater promotional influence on children's diets. However, these indirect effects have yet to be explained and measured. The aim of this study was to identify the indirect effects of promotion on children and to explain how these effects occur. This will allow future research to measure these effects, thereby providing evidence of a dimension of food promotion that has previously been ignored in policy discussions. As very little is understood about the nature of indirect promotion effects, a grounded theory approach was taken to develop a substantive theory of children's food consumption. ... The core category identified in the grounded theory was psychosocial eating, which is the term used in this study to describe how children and their parents reported habitually making food consumption decisions based on social and psychological needs, with secondary consideration given to physiological needs. Data from the interviews and projective techniques suggest that this psychosocial eating was reinforced by food promotion. The indirect effects of promotion have previously been defined as those effects that are mediated by another variable. The key mediators in this study were identified to be parents, siblings, and peers.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2010


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