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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

UAB Studies Possible Link between Family Meals and Adolescent Behavior

Previous literature has asserted that family meals are a key protective factor for certain adolescent risk behaviors. It is suggested that the frequency of eating with the family is associated with better psychological well-being and a lower risk of substance use and delin­quency. However, it is unclear whether there are causal links between family meals and adolescent health-risk behaviors. To address this need for evidence, Ms. Samantha Goldfarb, and Mr. Will L. Tarver, doctoral candidates in the department of health care organization and policy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham – working in conjunction with Dr. Bisakha Sen, professor – reviewed the empirical literature on family meals and adolescent health behaviors and outcomes in the United States. The purpose of this qualitative systematic review was to inform of the most frequently studied outcomes, how rigorously potential confounders were adjusted for, and how frequently statistically significant associations were detected between family meals and the outcome of interest.