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A 5-year longitudinal study of the relationship between the wish to be thinner, lifestyle behaviours and disturbed eating in 9–20-year old girls
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Caring Sciences.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Caring Sciences.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2010 (English)In: European eating disorders review, ISSN 1072-4133, E-ISSN 1099-0968, Vol. 18, no 3, 207-219 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this 5-year longitudinal study of 593 girls (9-20-year-old) was to examine whether the internalization of the thinness ideal in terms of “a wish to be thinner” might be related to lifestyle factors and longitudinally increase the risk of disturbed eating over time. Results showed that a wish to be thinner was related to lifestyle factors, eating attitudes and BMI longitudinally. Girls who wished to be thinner dieted more often, thought that they would be more popular if they were thinner, skipped meals, were eating breakfast more often alone and had a higher BMI compared to the girls without such a wish. Girls who wished to be thinner were 4 times more likely to develop disturbed eating attitudes over a 5-year period. These findings point to the importance of helping adolescents to establish regular eating habits, to avoid unhealthy dieting practices and to prevent sedentary behaviours that might lead to overweight and or obesity in early childhood.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 18, no 3, 207-219 p.
Keyword [en]
longitudinal design, wish to be thinner, lifestyle behaviours, disturbed eating
National Category
Social Work Social Sciences
Research subject
Caring Sciences in Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-122982DOI: 10.1002/erv.983ISI: 000277333200005PubMedID: 20443204OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-122982DiVA: diva2:311565
Projects
The IDA-Project
Available from: 2010-04-22 Created: 2010-04-22 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Wish to be thinner: Development and Prediction of Disturbed Eating: A Longitudinal Study of Swedish Girls and Young Women
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Wish to be thinner: Development and Prediction of Disturbed Eating: A Longitudinal Study of Swedish Girls and Young Women
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis was to examine the development and prediction of disturbed eating attitudes in girls aged 7–20 years. The four studies are part of a seven-year longitudinal project including 1279 girls in several age groups (7, 9, 11, 13, 15 years at inclusion) and their parents.

Study I showed that among girls aged 11 and 13 years, in addition to a positive relation between disturbed eating attitudes and age, eating attitudes, higher BMI than peers, a less healthy relation to family, and fathers’ eating attitudes, predicted disturbed eating attitudes two years later. Study II demonstrated that girls aged 9–15 years, who wished to be thinner dieted more often, thought that they would be more popular if they were thinner, were skipping meals more often and had a higher BMI, over five years, compared with the girls without such a wish. Study III demonstrated an increasing trend in the wish to be thinner and dieting attempts between the ages of 9 and 18 years. Motives for wishing to be thinner were, e.g., “to feel better about yourself” and “to correspond to the societal ideal”. A majority of the girls adopted healthy weight control practices, but unhealthy and extreme methods were also used. In Study IV, among girls aged 9 and 13 years, a wish to be thinner, fathers’ eating attitudes and mothers’ perfectionism contributed most to the prediction of disturbed eating attitudes seven years later. Protective factors were low BMI and more healthy eating attitudes moderated by high self-esteem, and low-to-medium degree of perfectionism.

In conclusion a wish to be thinner, higher BMI than peers, girls’ and fathers’ disturbed eating attitudes, mothers’ perfectionism and a less healthy relation to family predict the development of disturbed eating attitudes in girls. Low BMI and more healthy eating attitudes especially influenced by high self-esteem, and a low-to-medium degree of perfectionism protect against it. The “thin-ideal” is internalized early in girls and it is important to take a critical stand against the thinness ideal in our society, especially in families, and schools.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2010. 95 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 57
Keyword
Disturbed eating, risk factors, protective factors, eating attitudes, family influences, perfectionism, wish to be thinner, self-esteem, longitudinal design 
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Caring Sciences in Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-122993 (URN)978-91-554-7814-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-06-11, Auditorium Minus, Gustavianum, Uppsala, 09:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
The IDA-Project
Available from: 2010-05-17 Created: 2010-04-22 Last updated: 2010-05-18Bibliographically approved

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Josefin, Westerberg-JacobsonBirgitta, Edlund

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