Mothers' feelings and their children's activity levels

University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California
DOI: 10.18258/3637
Raised of $650 Goal
Funded on 2/28/15
Successfully Funded
  • $655
  • 100%
  • Funded
    on 2/28/15

Project Results

We've analyzed some data regarding eating behavors in mothers from this project, and found that:

(1) More frequent junk food consumption was associated with higher stress for overweight moms;

(2) Fruits and vegetables consumption was associated with lower stress for lean moms; and

(3) Moms were feeling happier after eating fruits and vegetables with family or friends than eating fruits and vegetables alone.

These results were presented at last month's Society of Behavioral Medicine's annual conference.

It has always been a challenge to assess and study people's daily eating behaviors.

Brief electronic survey delivered via smartphone apps could be a good method to study people's daily eating behaviors and the related-experience.

About This Project

This study will use mobile technology to investigate whether mothers' current feelings and emotions might influence their children's subsequent feelings, which then might affect their activity levels. Results from this study could inform us whether to target mothers' daily feelings as a way to promote children's physical activity.

Enrollment for this study is open to residents in Los Angeles County. For more information, please contact

Ask the Scientists

Join The Discussion

What is the context of this research?

Current evidence suggests that in most American households, both parents and children are not physically active enough in their daily lives. Given the negative health consequences of being physically inactive, the promotion of regular physical activity is an urgent public health need.Previous studies have shown that parents can influence their children's physical activity behavior through role modeling and parental support. However, relatively few studies have investigated how parental affective feeling states (e.g., positive affect such as happy, excited; negative affect such as sad, angry) might influence children's daily physical activity levels.

What is the significance of this project?

This study aims to test whether mothers' affective feelings at a given moment are associated with their children's subsequent feelings (i.e., in the next 30 to 60 minutes); and whether children's affective feelings influence their existing physical activity levels in their daily lives. Results from this study could inform researchers about parental role in influencing children's daily behaviors from a psychological states point of view. Future interventions that aims to promote children's daily physical activity levels might want to consider factors that relate to their parents' daily affective feelings (e.g., stress management for parents, create a more positive parent-child environment within the family, etc.).

What are the goals of the project?

The current study will use real-time data capture techniques to collect information about physical activity levels and momentary affective states in mother-child pairs. Specifically, both mothers and children will be monitored by accelerometers (track activity levels throughout the day) and a smartphone app (that measures affective states randomly through out the day).We aim to raise funds to help with the recruitment of 200 mothers and their children (age 8-11) to participate in our study. Because of our recruitment criteria (i.e., mothers need to work at least 18 hr/week), we try to go to as many community events as possible where working mothers are likely to show up. At those events, we try hard to attract people's attention by having noticeable signs and promotional items.


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In order to reach our recruitment goal of enrolling 200 mothers and their children (3rd - 5th grade) in our study within the next couple months, we have tried various strategies.

The latest effort being asking teachers to help us distribute an interest inquiry sheet to their students. Students can talk to their parents about our study then bring back the sheet to their teachers, indicating whether they are interested in getting more information about our study or not. For each student that brings back the sheet, we will give him/her a frisbees as a thank you, regardless their indication of interest.

0.53 (per frisbee) x 30 (students per class) = $15.9

15.9 x 9 classess = $143.1 per school

With your help, we will be able to reach 5 more schools! (Goal 1)

We are also actively attending local community events for recruitment and want to make a sustainable impact to promote activity by giving to community.

Other cost for our study (e.g., incentives, equipment) have been covered by an NIH grant.

Meet the Team

Yue Liao
Yue Liao
Genevieve Dunton
Genevieve Dunton

Team Bio

I like to analyze people. Why people do certain things at certain moments, and in certain ways? What factors influence people's daily behaviors? Your past experience, personality, or something else entirely, might affect your decision making. Similarly, where you are, who you are with, and how you feel at any moment may also influence what you decide to do in the next few minutes, hours, or days.

As a researcher in health behavior, one my interests is to use novel real-time data capture techniques (i.e., via smart phone's apps, wearable devices) to measure people's behaviors, attitudes, and feeling states in their daily lives. This way, we are able to better understand what personal and environmental factors might influence people's decision making about their daily health-related behaviors.

I recently adopted a highly active kitten (by the way, his name is Data), and my sedentary time at home has decreased significantly since then!

You can follow me and Data on Twitter @yueliao

Yue Liao

Hello! I am a researcher!

Additional Information

Recruitment team at a local community event.Yue's kitten (Data) is getting her become more active at home!

Project Backers

  • 32Backers
  • 100%Funded
  • $655Total Donations
  • $21.17Average Donation
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