A Multi-Stage Dyadic Qualitative Analysis to Disentangle How Dietary Behaviors of Asian American Young Adults are Influenced by Family

Shahmir H. Ali, Julia Cai, Fatema Kamal, Sian Auer, Katherine Yang, Roshan S. Parikh, Niyati Parekh, Nadia S. Islam, Alexis A. Merdjanoff, Ralph J. DiClemente

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The dietary behaviors of Asian American (AA) young adults, who face a growing non-communicable disease burden, are impacted by complex socio-ecological forces. Family plays a crucial role in the lifestyle behaviors of AA young adults; however, little is known on the methods, contributors, and impact of familial dietary influence. This study aims to deconstruct the mechanisms of AA young adult familial dietary influence through a multi-perspective qualitative assessment. A five-phase method of dyadic analysis adapted from past research was employed to extract nuanced insights from dyadic interviews with AA young adults and family members, and ground findings in behavioral theory (the Social Cognitive Theory, SCT). 37 interviews were conducted: 18 young adults, comprising 10 different AA ethnic subgroups, and 19 family members (10 parents, 9 siblings). Participants described dietary influences that were both active (facilitating, shaping, and restricting) and passive (e.g., sharing foods or environment, mirroring food behaviors). Influences connected strongly with multiple SCT constructs (e.g., behavioral capacity, reinforcements for active influences, and expectations, observational learning for passive influences). Familial influence contributed to changes in the total amount, variety, and healthfulness of foods consumed. Intra-family dynamics were crucial; family members often leveraged each other’s persuasiveness or food skills to collaboratively influence diet. AA family-based interventions should consider incorporating both passive and active forms of dietary influence within a family unit, involve multiple family members, and allow for individualization to the unique dynamics and dietary behaviors within each family unit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBehavioral Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Asian American
  • diet
  • dyadic
  • family
  • qualitative
  • social cognitive theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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