Familial correlates of extreme weight control behaviors among adolescents

Helena Fonseca, Marjorie Ireland, Michael D Resnick

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    45 Scopus citations


    Objective: To identify familial factors associated with extreme weight control among adolescents. Method: Analysis of a comprehensive 1996 health survey of Connecticut students. Familial factors among extreme dieters who deliberately vomited, took diet pills, laxatives, or diuretics were compared with youth reporting none of these behaviors, using logistic regression controlling for age and body mass index. Results: Nearly 7% of adolescents reported engaging in extreme weight control behaviors. Boys' risk factors included high parental supervision/monitoring and sexual abuse history. Protective factors included high parental expectations, maternal presence, and connectedness with friends and other adults. The only significant risk factor for girls was sexual abuse history. Protective factors included family connfectedness, positive family communication, parental supervision/monitoring, and maternal presence. Conclusions: Extreme dieting appears to be less an expression of body composition than of psychosocial issues. That connectedness to family, other adults, and friends is protective further demonstrates interrelationships of extreme weight control behaviors with family/social issues.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)441-448
    Number of pages8
    JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Dec 2002


    • Adolescent
    • Familial factors
    • Risk behaviors
    • Weight control


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