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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UAB Investigates Association between Family Meals and Adolescent Risk Outcomes

In a recent study, UAB alumna Dr. Samantha S. Goldfarb, currently at Florida State University, and her dissertation advisor Dr. Bisakha Sen, professor in the department of health care organization and policy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, examined the literature published between January 1990 and September 2013 to assess the relationship between frequent participation in family meals and adolescent health risk outcomes. Co-investigators are UAB department colleagues Mr. Will L. Tarver, doctoral student; Dr. Julie L. Locher, professor; and Dr. Julie Preskitt, assistant professor.

[Photo: Dr. Bisakha Sen]

The authors note, “Of the 254 analyses from 26 selected studies, most reported a significant association between family meals and the adolescent risk outcome-of-interest. However, model analyses which controlled for family connectedness variables, or used advanced empirical methods to account for family-level confounders, were less likely than unadjusted models to report significant relationships.”

Although the researchers found that the type of statistical analysis conducted was “significantly associated with the likelihood of finding a protective relationship between family meals and the adolescent outcome-of-interest,” they concluded that few of the empirical studies in this field are using the more rigorous statistical methods.

“A Systematic Review of the Association between Family Meals and Adolescent Risks Outcomes” was published online in August in the Journal of Adolescence.

Journal article: