ARG-151

The following appeared on the Website Science News Today.

"In a recent survey of more than 5,000 adolescents, the teens who reported eating the most meals with their families were the least likely to use illegal drugs, tobacco, or alcohol. Family meals were also associated with higher grades, better self-esteem, and lower rates of depression. Almost 30 percent of the teens said they ate at least seven meals per week with their families. Clearly, having a high number of family meals keeps teens from engaging in bad behaviors."


Write a response in which you discuss one or more alternative explanations that could rival the proposed explanation and explain how your explanation(s) can plausibly account for the facts presented in the argument.


According to the newsletter, the authors argue that eating with family more often keeps teens away from bad behavior. However, in addition to the explanation given by the authors, there are other reasons that lead to the same conclusion as the original explanation.

To begin with, in order to provide alternative explanations for why adolescents are less likely to engage in bad habits, we need to examine the validity and authenticity of the survey mentioned in the newsletter. For example, is it possible that the interviewer showed a tendency to eat together as a family during the interview, or that the adolescents deliberately gave false answers in order to give the interviewer a good impression? If this were true, then the validity of the survey would be questioned, and giving explanations for the even lesser delinquency of the adolescents would be a moot point. If, however, the survey is true, i.e., that teens who eat regularly with their families do have fewer delinquent behaviors, then there are additional factors beyond the factor of eating with family that could explain the teens' behavior.

First, it is likely that frequent eating at home is an independent result of the same factor as the adolescents' less delinquent behavior. For example, it is possible that family members are close, so people are willing to eat together, and also because family members are close, the child develops better in all areas; similarly, the economic conditions at home may play a role, and the child's development may be affected by poor economic conditions at home, and because money is scarce at home, the parents may always need to work outside the home and cannot ensure that they eat with the child; in addition to this, it is possible that It is not because the family eats together that the child is excellent, it is most likely because the child is better and the parents are more willing to eat with them.

Secondly, even if eating with the family helps to solve various problems in young people, it is possible that eating with the family is an indirect cause of young people staying away from bad behavior, and that the direct factor is the company of the family that comes from family dinners. If this is true, then it also means that there are other ways that may bring about the same effect besides having meals with the family, such as going on trips together, participating in recreational activities together, reading together, etc.

In summary, although the explanation given by the author is reasonable, there are still other interpretations that may differ from the original.

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