Do parents or siblings engage in more negative weight-based talk with children and what does it sound like? A mixed-methods study

Jerica M. Berge, Carrie Hanson-Bradley, Allan Tate, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


The current mixed-methods study examined the prevalence of negative weight-based talk across multiple family members (i.e., mother, father, older/younger brother, older/younger sister) and analyzed qualitative data to identify what negative weight-based talk sounds like in the home environment. Children (n = 60; ages 9–12) and their families from low income and minority households participated in the study. Children reported the highest prevalence of negative weight-based talk from siblings. Among specific family members, children reported a higher prevalence of negative weight-based talk from mothers and older brothers. In households with younger brothers, children reported less negative weight-based talk compared to other household compositions. Both quantitative and qualitative results indicated that mothers’ negative weight-based talk focused on concerns about child health, whereas fathers’ and siblings’ negative weight-based talk focused on child appearance and included teasing. Results suggest that interventions targeting familial negative weight-based talk may need to be tailored to specific family members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-33
Number of pages7
JournalBody Image
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016



  • Children
  • Obesity
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Weight talk
  • Weight teasing

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