Developmental antecedents of abnormal eating attitudes and behaviors in adolescence

Authors

  • Daniel Le Grange PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
    • Correspondence to: Daniel Le Grange, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, The University of Chicago, 5841 S. Maryland Avenue, MC3077, Chicago, IL 60637. E-mail: legrange@uchicago.edu

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  • Meredith O'Connor DEdPsych,

    1. Murdoch Children's Research Institute, The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
    2. Geelong Grammar School, Geelong, Australia
    3. Department of Pediatrics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
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  • Elizabeth K. Hughes PhD,

    1. Murdoch Children's Research Institute, The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
    2. Department of Pediatrics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
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  • Jacqui Macdonald BA(Hons),

    1. School of Psychology, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia
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  • Keriann Little BA(Hons),

    1. Murdoch Children's Research Institute, The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
    2. Department of Pediatrics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
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  • Craig A. Olsson PhD

    1. Murdoch Children's Research Institute, The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
    2. Department of Pediatrics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
    3. School of Psychology, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia
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ABSTRACT

Objective

This study capitalizes on developmental data from an Australian population-based birth cohort to identify developmental markers of abnormal eating attitudes and behaviors in adolescence. The aims were twofold: (1) to develop a comprehensive path model identifying infant and childhood developmental correlates of Abnormal Eating Attitudes and Behaviors in adolescence, and (2) to explore potential gender differences.

Method

Data were drawn from a 30-year longitudinal study that has followed the health and development of a population based cohort across 15 waves of data collection from infancy since 1983: The Australian Temperament Project. Participants in this analysis were the 1,300 youth who completed the 11th survey at 15–16 years (1998) and who completed the eating disorder inventory at this time point.

Results

Developmental correlates of Abnormal Eating Attitudes and Behaviors in mid-adolescence were temperamental persistence, early gestational age, persistent high weight, teen depression, stronger peer relationships, maternal dieting behavior, and pubertal timing. Overall, these factors accounted for 28% of the variance in Abnormal Eating Attitudes and Behaviors at 15–16 years of age. Depressive symptoms, maternal dieting behavior, and early puberty were more important factors for girls. Late puberty was a more important factor for boys.

Discussion

Findings address an important gap in our understanding of the etiology of Abnormal Eating Attitudes and Behaviors in adolescence and suggest multiple targets for preventive intervention. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2014; 47:813–824)

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