Longitudinal associations between child discipline methods and physical growth patterns across preschool years

Rosa Sze Man WONG, Keith T. S. TUNG, Frederick K. W. HO, Nirmala RAO, Ko Ling CHAN, Patrick IP

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Research has documented the associations of child maltreatment with a range of physical health problems, but little is known about the physical growth patterns of children who experience maltreatment in early childhood. This study aimed to examine the association between various discipline approaches and physical growth in preschool-aged children. 

Methods: In the first year of preschool, parents of 661 Chinese preschool-aged children completed a questionnaire with items pertaining to the frequency of using physical maltreatment, psychological aggression, neglect, and nonviolent discipline toward the child. Children's weight and height were assessed annually using direct assessment in the first and two subsequent years. Longitudinal analyses were performed using multiple regression models. 

Results: More frequent neglect and psychological aggression during the first year of preschool were associated with a higher likelihood of a decreased BMI z score in subsequent years. Conversely, increased experience of physical maltreatment in the first year was associated with an increased likelihood of having overweight or obesity in the third year. 

Conclusions: Results indicate that early maltreatment experience can impact physical growth. This highlights the importance of preventing abusive parenting and encouraging healthy habits in young children who have experienced maltreatment to decrease their future risk for weight problems. Copyright © 2024 The Authors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalObesity
Early online dateJan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Jan 2024

Citation

Wong, R. S. W., Tung, K. T. S., Ho, F. K. W., Rao, N., Chan, K. L., & Ip, P. (2023). Longitudinal associations between child discipline methods and physical growth patterns across preschool years. Obesity. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.23977

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