Maternal behaviors and restrained eating and body dissatisfaction in young children

Authors


Abstract

Objective:

The present study aimed at testing the relations between maternal weight concern and maternal encouragement to be thin as perceived by the child, and restraint and body dissatisfaction in young children.

Method:

Cross-sectional data were collected among 501 children (aged 7–10), using self-reports on maternal behaviors, body dissatisfaction, and restraint. Height and weight were objectively measured. Model testing was conducted with M+, and multigroup tests were conducted to test differences between the sexes, and between younger and older children.

Results:

Associations between the child's perception of maternal encouragement to be thin and child body dissatisfaction and restrained eating were found, whereas the child's perception of maternal weight concern was primarily related to child restrained eating. No sex differences were found, but the relations were stronger for the older children.

Conclusion:

Not only in girls, but in boys as well the child's perception of maternal behaviors plays a role. At primary school age children may become more vulnerable to possible maternal influences. © 2008 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2009

Ancillary