Mindful Eating Behaviour in Children: Developing measurements and interventions for the next generation.

This funding model includes a 36 month fully funded PhD Studentship, in-line with the Research Council values, which comprises a tax-free stipend paid monthly (2024/5 - £19,237) per year and a Full Time Fee Scholarship for up to 3 years, subject to you making satisfactory progression within your PhD. 

All applicants will receive the same stipend irrespective of fee status.

Application Closing Date: 
23:59 on Tuesday 30th April 2024 for a start date of the 2nd September 2024.

How to Apply 

To apply, please complete the project proposal form,ensuring that you quote the project reference, and then complete the online application where you will be required to upload your proposal in place of a personal statement as a pdf document. 

You will also be required to upload two references, at least one being an academic reference, and your qualification/s of entry (Bachelor/Masters certificate/s and transcript/s). 

Project Title: Mindful Eating Behaviour in Children: Developing measurements and interventions for the next generation.   

Project Lead: Professor Michael Mantzios  Michael.Mantzios@bcu.ac.uk

Reference: MEBC

Project Description

This PhD research has two main goals: to improve how we measure mindful eating and to suggest practical strategies for children and families to adopt mindful eating practices.

Phase A: Drawing from modern understandings of mindful eating and assessment, the research aims to validate the Mindful Eating Behaviour Scale for Children (MEBS-C), created based on an existing adult scale. This phase consists of three studies. In the first study, experts will review the scale's content to ensure it aligns with the definition of mindful eating. The second study will analyse the scale's structure and consistency using statistical methods. The third study will assess how consistent the scale's results are over a two-week period. By validating this scale, we hope to provide a reliable tool for researching mindful eating habits in children, allowing us to develop and assess interventions for children and families.

Phase B: Building on the validated scale from Phase A, this phase will test its effectiveness in evaluating mindful eating behaviour in children. In the first study, children will take part in mindful or mindless activities, the research will assess aspects like how much they ate and how mindful they were during the activity. In the second study, caregivers and children will be assigned to different groups receiving instructions on encouraging mindful eating using guidance from existing literature or not. Qualitative and quantitative methods will be used. These studies aim to promote mindful eating in families by establishing mindful mealtime habits for younger generations.

Anticipated Findings and Contribution to Knowledge 

Phase A: The project aims to validate the Mindful Eating Behavior Scale for Children (MEBS-C), enhancing its reliability and validity. Study 1 involves experts evaluating scale content. Study 2 employs factor analyses to determine scale structure and internal consistency. Study 3 assesses the scale's stability over time. These findings will provide a validated tool to measure children's mindful eating behaviors.

Knowledge Contribution of Phase A:

The Phase A findings will provide an innovative contribution to the field of mindful eating research by introducing a validated scale designed specifically for children. This addresses a gap in research tools, enabling a more accurate assessment of mindful eating behaviours among younger populations. The validated MEBS-C will offer researchers and practitioners a reliable means of understanding and promoting mindful eating practices in children.

Phase B: The research will use randomized controlled experiments to test MEBS-C effectiveness in assessing mindful eating in children and caregivers. Study 1 compares mindful and mindless activities. Study 2 examines caregiver instructions. These findings will contribute insights into promoting mindful eating practices within families.

Knowledge Contribution of Phase B:

The Phase B findings will contribute new knowledge on the effectiveness of the MEBS-C in practical settings, offering insights into how mindful eating practices can be fostered within families. This research will provide evidence-based guidance for interventions that can positively influence children's eating behaviours and experiences, promoting healthier relationships with food from an early age.