SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • eating psychopathology;
  • self-esteem;
  • family function;
  • prospective study

Abstract

Objectives

This longitudinal research aimed to determine the utility of psychosocial and eating characteristics in early teenage years in predicting eating attitudes and behaviors in early adulthood.

Method

Self-esteem, perfectionism, family function, and eating attitudes were measured at 12 years and eating attitudes and behavior were assessed at 19 years. Sixty-three women (71.6%) remained in the study over the 7 years.

Results

Bulimic attitudes in early teenage years were related to subsequent bulimic features, while restrictive attitudes were more closely related to later purging behaviors. Self-esteem and perfectionism were only weakly linked with subsequent eating. However, different perceived family characteristics at the first stage were associated with specific aspects of eating in early adulthood.

Conclusions

There is consistency of eating characteristics across time, but psychosocial characteristics have a more limited predictive power. Future longitudinal studies should begin earlier in childhood if psychosocial factors are to be useful predictors of eating psychopathology in adulthood. © 1998 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 24: 351–362, 1998.