Longitudinal examination of maternal psychological control and adolescents' self-competence as predictors of bulimic symptoms among boys and girls




Because bulimia nervosa is a problem among adolescents, it remains essential to examine its precursors. The specific etiologic chain investigated in this study is such that maternal psychological control first leads to adolescents' lowered self-competence, which in turn predicts bulimic symptoms.


Self-report data were collected from 58 boys and 73 girls during sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. Participants reported on maternal psychological control, self-competence, and bulimic symptoms.


Using structural equation modeling, we tested our hypothesized longitudinal indirect effects model separately for boys and girls. Results indeed indicated that high maternal psychological control in sixth grade led to lowered adolescents' self-competence in seventh grade, which in turn predicted increased bulimic symptoms in eighth grade for both boys and girls.


This study uncovers one particular process wherein a psychologically controlling parenting style affects adolescents' development of bulimic symptoms, a finding that may be useful to researchers and clinicians. © 2008 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2009