Parent-adolescent relationships and the development of weight concerns from early to late adolescence

Ashleigh L. May, Ji Yeon Kim, Susan M. McHale, Ann C. Crouter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Objective: This work describes the developmental course of adolescents' weight concerns and examines links with changes in parent-adolescent relationships for girls and boys. Method: Adolescents and parents in 191 families participated in 3 annual home interviews; adolescents rated their weight concerns and their intimacy and conflict with parents. Parental knowledge was measured based on the match between adolescents' and parents' reports of youth's experiences each day during 7 evening telephone calls. Results: Girls' weight concerns increased from age 11 to 16 and then declined, whereas boys' concerns declined beginning at age 11. Increases in girls' weight concerns were linked to increases in conflict with mothers and fathers and decreases in maternal intimacy and knowledge. At a trend level, declines in boys' weight concerns were associated with declines in father conflict. Conclusion: Mothers and fathers may have unique influences on adolescent weight concerns. Intervention programming should target parent-adolescent relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)729-740
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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