Familial correlates of extreme weight control behaviors among adolescents

Authors

  • Helena Fonseca,

    1. Adolescent Health Outpatient Clinic, Pediatric Division, Hospital de Santa Maria, Lisboa, Portugal
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Marjorie Ireland,

    1. Center for Adolescent Health and Development, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Michael D. Resnick

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Adolescent Health and Development, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
    • University of Minnesota, Center for Adolescent Health and Development, McNamara Alumni Center, 200 Oak Street SE, Suite 260, Minneapolis, MN 55455-2002
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Supported by 5-T71-MC00006-22 (Leadership Training in Adolescent Health, MCHB; formerly, MCJ000985 Adolescent Health Training Program).

Abstract

Objective

To identify familial factors associated with extreme weight control among adolescents.

Method

Analysis of a comprehensive 1996 health survey of Connecticut students. Familial factors among extreme dieters who deliberately vomited, took diet pills, laxatives, or diuretics were compared with youth reporting none of these behaviors, using logistic regression controlling for age and body mass index.

Results

Nearly 7% of adolescents reported engaging in extreme weight control behaviors. Boys' risk factors included high parental supervision/monitoring and sexual abuse history. Protective factors included high parental expectations, maternal presence, and connectedness with friends and other adults. The only significant risk factor for girls was sexual abuse history. Protective factors included family connectedness, positive family communication, parental supervision/monitoring, and maternal presence.

Conclusions

Extreme dieting appears to be less an expression of body composition than of psychosocial issues. That connectedness to family, other adults, and friends is protective further demonstrates interrelationships of extreme weight control behaviors with family/social issues. © 2002 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 32: 441–448, 2002.

Ancillary