Purpose: The main purpose of this study was to identify the longitudinal association between specific parenting styles (authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and neglectful) and adolescent disordered eating behaviors. Methods: The current study uses longitudinal data from a 5-year study to examine the associations between parenting style and disordered eating behaviors among adolescents. Data from adolescents (n = 2516) participating in Project EAT (Eating Among Teens), a population-based study from 31 Minnesota schools, were used in the analysis. Time 1 data were collected using in-class assessments of adolescents from Minneapolis/St. Paul schools, and Time 2 data were collected using mailed surveys 5 years later. General Linear Models were used to predict adolescent-reported disordered eating behaviors at Time 2 from adolescent-reported parenting style at Time 1. Results: Adolescent boys and girls who had authoritarian mothers at Time 1 had a higher probability of extreme weight control behaviors 5 years later compared to adolescents with authoritative, permissive, or neglectful mothers. Adolescent girls with authoritarian mothers at Time 1 had a higher probability of engaging in binge-eating behaviors at Time 2 compared to adolescent girls with authoritative or permissive mothers. There were no significant associations between paternal parenting style and adolescent disordered eating behaviors. Although authoritarian parenting style served as a possible risk factor for disordered eating behaviors in adolescents, the findings were not conclusive. Conclusion: Future studies should investigate further the association between parenting style and weight control behaviors in adolescents.
- Eating disorders
- Family functioning