This thesis explores the meaning of the family meal to ten families in the Dallas, Texas area. The motivation was to discover what the function of the family meal served to their lives both as individuals and as a family unit in context of relationships between family members. Also, in order to gain a fuller understanding of the importance of the family meal, a historical comparison was made between the meal practices of the parents of the family and those their children have grown accustomed to. These questions were answered through in-depth interviews conducted with each family, including questions on schedules, family dynamics, and family memories. Results show that despite a general opinion of individuals choosing their own schedules or motives over a family meal, the opposite seems to be far truer. The families interviewed use dinner as an escape from their otherwise hectic lives and cherish the time they have together over a meal.


Clayton, Bruce


Sociology and Anthropology


Family, Life Course, and Society

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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