194879 Using social marketing to increase the frequency of the family dinner

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 10:50 AM

Mary Martinasek, MPH, CHES , Community and Family Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

This qualitative research project was a collaborative effort between the University of South Florida and the local YMCA. Guided by the social marketing framework, four focus groups were conducted with working mothers to explore aspects of the family dinner. The key analytical constructs were derived from the marketing mix (i.e. product, price, place, and promotion) with regard to the selected behavior—the family dinner.


Thematic analysis of the focus groups demonstrated that the family dinner is a valued family tradition that affords opportunities, including sharing events of the day, passing on family traditions, role modeling, connectedness, and problem solving. The analysis identified lack of time, cost, and exhaustion/lack of energy as barriers to the family dinner.

Working mothers indicated that the YMCA, a community partner, could increase the frequency of the family dinner by helping with homework completion during after school care, thereby providing mothers with the necessary time to prepare the family dinner. This exploratory research inquiry identified both community partners and working mothers as valued resources for prevention strategies.


This study utilized a social marketing framework to explore leverage points for increasing the frequency of family dinners among families with working mothers. Interventions developed to increase the family dinner should provide activities that emphasize the perceived value (i.e. passing traditions, sharing events of the day, connecting with children) while decreasing the costs/barriers to the family dinner (i.e. time, costs, lack of energy).

Learning Objectives:
Describe factors associated with the frequency of the family dinner among working mothers in the context of a social marketing framework.

Keywords: Social Marketing, Community-Based Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: It is my research
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.