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Feeding the Family: Exploration of Mothers' Experiences and Practice

Kennedy, C (2015) Feeding the Family: Exploration of Mothers' Experiences and Practice. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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A mother's practice of feeding the family is viewed as risk behaviour in published health literature where the dominant research interest lies in its pathogenic potential in the aetiology of Child Obesity. Mothers’ 'participative knowledge' of their practice, which is their lived experience as known and given meaning by them, is absent from this literature. The aim of the thesis is to address this gap in knowledge and reflect upon its significance for health promotion.
The exploration of mothers’ family feeding practices was conducted by means of a Co-operative Inquiry (Heron, 1996) which I adapted as a community participatory research study with a core group of 13 volunteer mothers. This community of mothers from a former mining community in the NW of England became in time my co-researchers in the investigation of what feeding the family entailed and meant for them.
There are two phases of the inquiry. In Phase 1, methods were developed to enable mothers to collect data and to engage in reflection and dialogue so as to describe and explain their practice. In Phase 2, the Inquiry process was directed towards empowering mothers to engage in transformative experiential learning. Findings at the end of Phase 1 highlighted that the mothers’ routine practices often exposed their children to risk factors linked to childhood obesity. It also identified that their reality and lived experience systematically exposed mothers to social injustice that had the potential to undermine their health. At the end of Phase 2 however, new insights into the potential meaning of their practice, led the mothers to make changes in family feeding; and to transform an alienating environment into an empowering experience of true community. The author reflects and discusses the inquiry and its findings by drawing upon theories of knowledge, practice and health; and empirical evidence of risk factors in health inequalities.
This study extends the body of knowledge about family feeding with insights into the participative reality of mothers’ practice. The Author recommends health research should embrace new theoretical frameworks for inquiry with mothers to develop a more socially just knowledge of their practice that can empower both mothers and community.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mothers Feeding Family Practice Obesity Health Determinants Inequalities Mental Health Participation Community Deprivation Knowledge Identity Social Justice Experiential Co-operative Learning Salutogenic Praxis Community Spiritual Work
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Divisions: Public Health Institute
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2016 12:50
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2021 23:27
DOI or ID number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00004581
Supervisors: Khatri, Rose
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4581
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