Dietary Change: What Are the Responses and Roles of Significant Others?

      Abstract

      Objective

      This study examined the impact of one person’s dietary change on the experiences of a significant other with whom they regularly shared meals.

      Design

      Qualitative constant comparison approach using semistructured interviews.

      Setting

      Community-based.

      Participants

      Forty-two participants were recruited using a stratified purposive sampling strategy.

      Analysis

      Verbatim transcripts were analyzed using NUD*IST, version 4.0 software (Qualitative Solutions and Research, Melbourne, Australia, 1997) and manual coding.

      Results

      Most dietary changers had modified their diets in response to a disease diagnosis (eg, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hypoglycemia, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), ulcer, allergies). Others had changed their diets for personal reasons (eg, weight loss, vegetarian diets). The dietary changes included dietary fat reduction, conversion to vegetarian or vegan diets, restriction of total kilocalorie intake, and elimination or reduction of specific food items. Significant others described a range of emotional responses to the dietary change, including cooperation, encouragement, skepticism, and anger. Significant others’ descriptions of the roles that they played in the dietary change were positive (enabling), neutral (neither enabling nor inhibiting), or negative (inhibiting). Most significant others played positive roles; few played neutral or negative roles.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Understanding dietary change from the perspective of significant others can enable nutrition professionals to develop strategies to promote dietary modifications as a shared activity.

      Key Words

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access

      SNEB Member Login

      SNEB Members, full access to the journal is a member benefit. Login via the SNEB Website to access all journal content and features.

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Bandura A.
        The self system in reciprocal determinism.
        Am Psychol. 1978; 33: 344-358
        • Rogers E.
        Diffusion of Innovations.
        Free Press, New York1983
        • Beardsworth A.
        • Keil T.
        Putting the menu on the agenda.
        Sociology. 1990; 24: 139-151
        • Sobal J.
        • Nelson M.K.
        Commensal eating patterns: a community study.
        Appetite. 2003; 41: 181-190
        • Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research, Dietitians of Canada, Kraft Canada Inc
        Speaking of Food and Eating: A Consumer Perspective.
        Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research, Toronto1997
        • Kemmer D.
        • Anderson A.S.
        • Marshall D.W.
        Living together and eating together: changes in food choice and eating habits during the transition from single to married/cohabiting.
        Sociol Rev. 1998; 46: 48-72
        • Marshall D.W.
        • Anderson A.S.
        Proper meals in transition: young married couples on the nature of eating together.
        Appetite. 2002; 39: 193-206
        • Connors M.
        • Bisogni C.A.
        • Sobal J.
        • Devine C.M.
        Managing values in personal food systems.
        Appetite. 2001; 36: 189-200
        • Contento I.R.
        • Murphy B.M.
        Psycho-social factors differentiating people who reported making desirable changes in their diets from those who did not.
        J Nutr Educ. 1990; 22: 6-14
        • Murcott A.
        Psycho-social influences on food choice: implications for dietary change.
        Proc Nutr Soc. 1995; 54: 729-735
        • Mead M.
        The problem of changing food habits. Report of the Committee on Food Habits 1941-43. Bulletin of the National Research Council, #108.
        National Research Council, Washington, DC1943
        • Holli B.B.
        • Calabrese R.J.
        Communication and Education Skills for Dietetics Professionals.
        3rd ed. Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore1998
        • Curry K.R.
        • Jaffe A.
        Nutrition Counselling and Communication Skills.
        W.B. Saunders, Toronto1998
        • Giddens A.
        Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age.
        Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif1991
        • Gregory S.
        Living with chronic illness in the family setting.
        Sociol Health Illn. 2005; 27: 372-392
        • Kelsey K.
        • Earp J.L.
        • Kirkley B.G.
        Is social support beneficial for dietary change?.
        Fam Community Health. 1997; 20: 70-82
        • Bovbjerg V.E.
        • McCann B.S.
        • Brief D.J.
        • et al.
        Spouse support and long-term adherence to lipid-lowering diets.
        Am J Epidemiol. 1995; 141: 451-460
        • Ell K.
        Social networks, social support and coping with serious illness: the family connection.
        Soc Sci Med. 1996; 42: 173-183
        • Falk L.W.
        • Bisogni C.A.
        • Sobal J.
        Diet change processes of participants in an intensive heart program.
        J Nutr Educ. 2000; 32: 240-250
        • Kristal A.R.
        • Patterson R.E.
        • Glanz K.
        • et al.
        Psychosocial correlates of healthful diets: baseline results from the Working Well Study.
        Prev Med. 1995; 24: 221-228
        • Lloyd H.M.
        • Paisley C.M.
        • Mela D.J.
        Barriers to the adoption of reduced-fat diets in a UK population.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 1995; 95: 316-322
        • Morisky D.E.
        • DeMuth N.M.
        • Field-Fass M.
        • Green L.W.
        • Levine D.M.
        Evaluation of family health education to build social support for long-term control of high blood pressure.
        Health Educ Q. 1985; 12: 35-50
        • Zimmerman R.S.
        • Connor C.
        Health promotion in context: the effects of significant others on health behavior change.
        Health Educ Q. 1989; 16: 57-75
        • Keenan D.P.
        • AbuSabha R.
        • Signman-Grant M.
        • Achterberg C.
        • Ruffing J.
        Factors perceived to influence dietary fat reduction.
        J Nutr Educ. 1999; 31: 134-144
        • Gorbach S.L.
        • Morrill-LaBrode A.
        • Woods M.N.
        • et al.
        Changes in food patterns during a low-fat dietary intervention in women.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 1990; 90: 802-809
        • Kristal A.R.
        • Shattuck A.L.
        • Henry H.J.
        Patterns of dietary behavior associated with selecting diets low in fat: reliability and validity of a behavioral approach to dietary assessment.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 1990; 90: 214-220
        • Keenan D.P.
        • Achterberg C.
        • Kris-Etherton P.M.
        • Abusabha R.
        • Von Eye A.
        Use of qualitative and quantitative methods to define behavioral fat reduction strategies and their relationship to dietary fat reduction in the Patterns of Dietary Change Study.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 1996; 96: 1245-1250
        • Patton D.Q.
        Qualitative Evaluation and Research Methods.
        Sage Publications, Newbury Park, Calif1990
        • Strauss A.
        • Corbin J.
        Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory.
        2nd ed. Sage Publications, Newbury Park, Calif1998
        • Beagan B.L.
        • Chapman G.E.
        Family influences on food choice: context of surviving breast cancer.
        J Nutr Educ Behav. 2004; 36: 320-326
        • Hinson Langford C.P.
        • Bowsher J.
        • Maloney J.P.
        • Lillis P.P.
        Social support: a conceptual analysis.
        J Adv Nurs. 1997; 25: 95-100
        • Savoca M.
        • Miller C.
        Food selection and eating patterns: themes found among people with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
        J Nutr Educ Behav. 2001; 33: 224-233
        • Miller D.
        • Brown J.L.
        Marital interactions in the process of dietary change for type 2 diabetes.
        J Nutr Educ Behav. 2005; 37: 226-234
        • Porter L.C.
        • Wampler R.S.
        Adjustment to rapid weight loss.
        Fam Syst Health. 2000; 18: 35-59
        • Schafer R.B.
        • Schafer E.
        • Keith P.M.
        Stress in marital interaction and diet behavior.
        Stress Med. 1997; 13: 145-150