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Risk and Protective Factors for Disturbed Eating: A 7-Year Longitudinal Study of Eating Attitudes and Psychological Factors in Adolescent Girls and their Parents
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: Eating and Weight Disorders, ISSN 1124-4909, E-ISSN 1590-1262, Vol. 15, no 4, e208-e218 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aims of this seven-year longitudinal study of 228 girls (9 and 13 year olds) were 1) to examine the predictive value of eating attitudes, a wish to be thinner, dieting, perfectionism, self-esteem and  Body Mass Index; 2) to examine the girls’ parents’ eating attitudes and perfectionism in relation to the development of disturbed eating attitudes, seven years later; and 3) to examine whether normal body weight, healthy eating attitudes and low perfectionism together with high self-esteem might operate as protective factors for the later development of disturbed eating attitudes. The pre-adolescent girls (9-year olds) “wish to be thinner” and fathers’ EAT scores contributed most to the prediction of disturbed eating attitudes seven years later. Corresponding analysis for the adolescent girls (13-year olds) showed that a “wish to be thinner” and mothers’ rating on perfectionism contributed most to the prediction of disturbed eating attitudes seven years later. Protective factors were low BMI and more healthy eating attitudes - especially moderated by high self-esteem, and a low-to-medium degree of perfectionism. High self-esteem appeared to be a protective factor when the girls had a high degree of perfectionism. These results suggest that it is important to focus on healthy eating attitudes at home to prevent overweight in early childhood, enhance self-esteem and to take a critical stand toward the thinness ideal in our society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 15, no 4, e208-e218 p.
Keyword [en]
Risk and protective factors, family influences, eating attitudes, disturbed eating
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Caring Sciences in Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-122987DOI: 10.1007/BF03325302ISI: 000293207700002PubMedID: 21406944OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-122987DiVA: diva2:311569
Projects
The IDA-project
Funder
Riksbankens JubileumsfondSwedish Research Council
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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Westerberg-Jacobson, JosefinEdlund, BirgittaGhaderi, Ata

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