Title of Presentation or Performance

Understanding Parental Influence And Its Effects On Young Adults' Eating Behaviors And Body Image

Major

Psychology

Type of Submission

Poster

Type of Submission (Archival)

Event

Area of Study or Work

Psychology

Expected Graduation Date

2022

Location

CNS Atrium, Easel 39

Start Date

4-9-2022 8:30 AM

End Date

4-9-2022 9:45 AM

Abstract

What parents say to their children about their bodies and eating habits matters and may have long-lasting consequences. There is evidence that parental teasing about their children’s weight and appearance negatively impacts the child’s psychological functioning (Schwartz et al., 1997). Even well-intended efforts can lead to problematic outcomes. Parents who are very concerned about their child’s weight tend to overly restrict access to food, but rather than helping, this can increase the risk of future problems for their children (Loth et al., 2021). Although the strength of parental influence may wane as children mature, it is still evident in adolescence. Studies with high school students have found that parents who frequently diet, make comments about their child’s body, or exert pressure for their child to attain a certain body shape, have higher body dissatisfaction and disordered eating (Rodgers, Faure, & Chabrol, 2009). Even in adulthood parental influences are found. Among college students, parental comments about their adult children’s bodies predict psychological distress (Schwartz et al., 1999), body dissatisfaction (Rodgers, Paxton, & Chabrol, 2009), and disordered eating (Chng & Fassnacht, 2016; Ellis et al., 2016). With the focus on maladaptive parental influences, examining positive influences by parents has been largely unexplored, particularly among young adults. The present study addresses this gap and attempts to address a more comprehensive view of whether, and to what degree, parents influence body image and eating behaviors of young adults. In addition to maladaptive attitudes and behaviors we include measures of adaptive aspects such as body appreciation and intuitive eating. After surveying young adults about parental influences, parental relationship quality, and their own attitudes and behaviors, we hope to draw conclusions regarding potential positive effects of parents.

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Apr 9th, 8:30 AM Apr 9th, 9:45 AM

Understanding Parental Influence And Its Effects On Young Adults' Eating Behaviors And Body Image

CNS Atrium, Easel 39

What parents say to their children about their bodies and eating habits matters and may have long-lasting consequences. There is evidence that parental teasing about their children’s weight and appearance negatively impacts the child’s psychological functioning (Schwartz et al., 1997). Even well-intended efforts can lead to problematic outcomes. Parents who are very concerned about their child’s weight tend to overly restrict access to food, but rather than helping, this can increase the risk of future problems for their children (Loth et al., 2021). Although the strength of parental influence may wane as children mature, it is still evident in adolescence. Studies with high school students have found that parents who frequently diet, make comments about their child’s body, or exert pressure for their child to attain a certain body shape, have higher body dissatisfaction and disordered eating (Rodgers, Faure, & Chabrol, 2009). Even in adulthood parental influences are found. Among college students, parental comments about their adult children’s bodies predict psychological distress (Schwartz et al., 1999), body dissatisfaction (Rodgers, Paxton, & Chabrol, 2009), and disordered eating (Chng & Fassnacht, 2016; Ellis et al., 2016). With the focus on maladaptive parental influences, examining positive influences by parents has been largely unexplored, particularly among young adults. The present study addresses this gap and attempts to address a more comprehensive view of whether, and to what degree, parents influence body image and eating behaviors of young adults. In addition to maladaptive attitudes and behaviors we include measures of adaptive aspects such as body appreciation and intuitive eating. After surveying young adults about parental influences, parental relationship quality, and their own attitudes and behaviors, we hope to draw conclusions regarding potential positive effects of parents.