Parental input and weight concerns among elementary school children
Article first published online: 19 MAR 1999
Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
International Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume 25, Issue 3, pages 263–271, April 1999
How to Cite
Smolak, L., Levine, M. P. and Schermer, F. (1999), Parental input and weight concerns among elementary school children. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 25: 263–271. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-108X(199904)25:3<263::AID-EAT3>3.0.CO;2-V
- Issue published online: 19 MAR 1999
- Article first published online: 19 MAR 1999
- Manuscript Accepted: 27 DEC 1997
- dieting attempts;
- calorie-restrictive dieting;
- prevention programs
This study examined the relative contributions of mother's and father's direct comments about child's weight and modeling of weight concerns through their own behavior on child's body esteem, weight-related concerns, and weight loss attempts.
Parents, 131 mothers and 89 fathers, of fourth and fifth grade boys and girls completed a brief survey which included measures of their own dieting attempts, concerns about their own shape, complaints about their own shape, and beliefs about calorie-restrictive dieting as well as the frequency of their comments to their child about the child's weight. Children were surveyed using the Body Esteem Scale as well as questions about their weight-related concerns and weight loss attempts.
Direct parental comments, especially by the mother, seemed to be more powerful influences than parental modeling of weight and shape concerns, although parental modeling did affect the child's beliefs and behaviors. Girls appeared to be more affected than did boys.
Parental comments and modeling do appear to affect elementary school children's weight and shape-related attitudes and behaviors. Such parental behavior may be an appropriate target in prevention programs. © 1999 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 25: 263–271, 1999.