Relationships between maternal and adolescent weight-related behaviors and concerns: the role of perception

Helene Keery, Marla E. Eisenberg, Kerri Boutelle, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Mary Story

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between maternal and adolescent weight-related behaviors and concerns in a population-based sample. Methods: Participants were 810 adolescents (n=429 girls and n=381 boys) and their mothers/guardians. Adolescents were part of the Project EAT (Eating Among Teens) study, which was a comprehensive study of eating patterns and weight concerns among adolescents in Minnesota. Outcome variables included child's body dissatisfaction, weight concerns, dieting, and use of healthy and unhealthy weight control behaviors. Results: Adolescents reported lower rates of maternal dieting than mothers. Maternal self-report of dieting was not significantly associated with children's weight-related concerns. Children's perceptions of their mothers' behaviors were significantly related to their level of weight concerns and use of weight control behaviors. Conclusion: Adolescents' perceptions of maternal behavior affect their weight-related concerns and behaviors. This suggests that mothers who choose to diet should model healthy choices in the areas of nutrition and physical activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-111
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported in part by Project #1 T71 MC00025-01 (Leadership Education in Adolescent Health) from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (Title V, Social Security Act), Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services.


  • Adolescents
  • Body image
  • Dieting
  • Eating disorders
  • Mothers
  • Parents


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