The occurrence of family mealtime is developmentally beneficial to both children and adolescents. Although the act of family meals has been identified as important, elements that affect the occurrence, and quality of these meals has yet to be investigated. The present study examines the influence of social class status and family structure on the frequency and quality of family mealtime. An online survey was created and distributed to various parents using snowball sampling. The final results consisted of both qualitative and quantitative data. Common themes within the qualitative data were identified and applied to the results of the quantitative data. Frequency distributions, crosstabs, and regressions were used in the analysis to identify relationships between variables of social class and family structure, and the frequency and quality of family meals. Although not all predicted relationships were present in the sample, the variable most predicting the occurrence of family meals was the number of activities children had per week and the variable most predicting the quality of mealtime was the location of the meal within the home. It is also important to note that the results of this study highlight the importance of both structural and cultural forces in our society.


Fitz Gibbon, Heather


Sociology and Anthropology


family, mealtime

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2014 Nicole A. Sever