Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 2010


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name





School of Nursing

Committee Chair

Rick Zoucha

Committee Member

Evelyn Labun

Committee Member

Khlood Salman


behavior change, childhood obesity, childhood overweight, grounded theory, health promotion


Informed by the grounded theory method, the aim of this study was to discover, explore, and explain how parents promote the health of their overweight or obese child. Implicit within this goal was to discover the worldview of the parents and to understand the context, properties, and dimensions in which this process occurred. Interviews from 17 participants were analyzed using constant comparison and theoretical sampling techniques. The concepts and constructs that emerged from the data analysis depict the basic social process of how parents come to know their child is overweight or obese and how they promote their child's health given this awareness. Findings revealed five core process concepts, discovery, taking the lead, making change, engagement, and teamwork. Parental movement and action within the process of making change occurred through the core process linking concepts of parental buy-in, parental worry, finding the hook, and creating the gel. Embedded and antecedent to the process of making change are influential contextual conditions at a micro and macro level. The substantive theory that emerged from this study, The Pathway to Making Change, was derived from the data and was comprised of the relationships of the core process concepts, core process linking concepts, and the contextual conditions that clustered from the data during analysis. The Pathway to Making Change represents a dynamic and fluid model founded upon the interaction between parent-child dyad and their lived world. The Pathway to Making Change explains how parents come to know their child is overweight or obese and based upon this awareness how they promote the health of their child. The findings from this study have important implications for nursing practice, future research, public health services, health education, and public policy.