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Developmental patterns and family predictors of adolescent weight concerns: A replication and extension

Authors

  • Chun Bun Lam MS,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
    • Department of Human Development and Family Studies, 210 South Henderson Building, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802
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    • Conflict of interest: Mr. Lam and Dr. McHale received no biomedical or commercial support that might constitute a conflict of interest in association with this research.

  • Susan M. McHale PhD

    1. Department of Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
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    • Conflict of interest: Mr. Lam and Dr. McHale received no biomedical or commercial support that might constitute a conflict of interest in association with this research.


Abstract

Objective:

We examined how weight concerns changed across adolescence and whether within-person changes in parent–adolescent relationships were longitudinally linked to within-person changes in adolescent weight concerns.

Method:

Participants were mothers, fathers, and the two eldest adolescent siblings from 201 families. Adolescents rated their weight concerns on five occasions across 7 years. Parents rated their acceptance of and conflict with their adolescents, and adolescents rated their depressive symptoms, a year prior to each weight concern measurement.

Results:

Although girls' weight concerns increased from early to late adolescence and then leveled off, boys' weight concerns remained relatively unchanged. Moreover, controlling for adolescents' depressive symptoms, when mothers reported less acceptance of and fathers reported more conflict with their adolescents than usual, adolescents reported more weight concerns than usual in the following year.

Discussion:

Findings highlight the vulnerability of adolescents and the role of both mothers and fathers in the etiology of weight-related problems. © 2012 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2012.

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