School Breakfast Clubs, Social Relationships and Behaviour

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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The aim of the current thesis was to investigate whether a relationship exists between primary school breakfast club attendance and children’s relationships and behaviour.

Study 1 presents a qualitative investigation of the views of parents, children and school staff on the advantages and disadvantages of school breakfast clubs. Findings showed a multitude of perceived benefits of breakfast club attendance including improvements in dietary habits, social relationships and familial routines. Though, issues with a lack of adherence to school food standards, problems with facilities and concerns regarding costs were also highlighted.

Studies 2 and 3 examine associations between breakfast clubs and children’s relationships with their parents, peers and staff using longitudinal and cross sectional self report methods. Study 2 showed no significant differences between breakfast club attendees, after school club attendees and non-attendees in the quality of their relationships with their best friends and class teachers, and their experiences of peer victimisation across time. Study 3 showed attendance at before and after school clubs to be beneficial to children’s perceptions social support.

Study 4 investigated whether children attending a school of higher socioeconomic status (SES) consumed more healthy breakfast items and fewer unhealthy breakfast items than children attending a lower SES school. Results showed that children from the higher SES school who also attended school breakfast consumed more healthy breakfast items than children who attended school breakfast in the lower SES school.

Finally, Study 5 investigated children’s behaviour within the breakfast club setting. Observations revealed that children displayed more positive than negative behaviours whilst in breakfast club; their behaviour did not improve or deteriorate across the duration of breakfast club; and there were no differences between children’s behaviour as they participated in different breakfast club activities.

The mixed findings of this thesis highlight key areas for consideration for those involved in the implementation of school breakfast provision and methodological challenges that warrant consideration by those involved in future evaluations of breakfast clubs.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Northumbria University
  • Defeyter, Greta, Supervisor
  • Russo, Riccardo, Supervisor, External person
  • Reynolds, Caroline, Supervisor
Award date23 Apr 2015
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Oct 2014


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