Are adolescents harmed when asked risky weight control behavior and attitude questions? Implications for consent procedures

Authors

  • Angela A. Celio,

    1. San Diego State University, University of California, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, San Diego, California
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  • Susan Bryson,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
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  • Joel D. Killen,

    1. Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
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  • C. Barr Taylor

    Corresponding author
    1. San Diego State University, University of California, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, San Diego, California
    • Department of Psychiatry, Room 1326, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5722
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Abstract

Objectives

This study explores whether asking minors about risky weight control behaviors and attitudes increases the frequency of those behaviors and attitudes.

Methods

Participants were 115 sixth-grade girls who responded to questions on risky weight control behaviors and attitudes at baseline and at 12-month follow-up. An additional 107 girls, who had not been part of the baseline, provided data only at follow-up. The two groups were compared on risky weight control behaviors and attitudes at follow-up using chi-square analyses, Mann-Whitney U tests, Cohen's effect sizes, and odds ratios.

Results

No evidence of a negative effect in the twice-assessed group was found. All rates decreased from baseline to follow-up.

Conclusions

There is only minimal risk and perhaps even some benefit of asking questions about risky weight control behaviors and attitudes. Implications for determining appropriate consent procedures are discussed. © 2003 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 34: 251–254, 2003.

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