Sex Roles, Vol. 41, No . 3/4, 1999
Relatio nship s A mong A dolescent Girls’ Eating
Behav io rs an d Their Parents’ Weight-Relate d
A ttitudes and Behav io rs
Elean o r H. Wertheim
La Trob e Un i
Virgin ia Me e an d Susan J. Paxto n
ersity o f Melb ou rne
This article exam in es ad olescen t girls’ weight lo ss beha
io rs an d possible
parent in ¯ uences related to weigh t an d sh ap e. Q uestionnaires were com pleted
by 369 grad e 10 girls and their parents. Fin dings su ggested that paren t en co ur-
agem ent to lo se weigh t was a more signi® cant pred icto r of dau ghter dietary
restrain t than parents’ own dietary restrain t le
els. Mother in ¯ uence
ad ded signi® cantly to a regressio n equatio n after fath er in ¯ uences had been
entered, but the re
erse was not th e case. Parents’ fo od ab stain in g beha
such as fasting an d skip ping meals, predicted food ab stain in g in dau gh ters.
Most ® ndings were replicated w hen dau gh ter body siz e was co ntro lled fo r.
Im plicatio ns for models of the tran sm issio n of diet an d weigh t-related
from paren t to child are discu ssed.
Die ting be haviors and eating disorde rs are predominantly ge nde r linke d.
Revie ws of eating disorde r pre vale nce rate s indicate that 9 out of 10 case s
of eating disorde rs occur in wom e n (A merican Psychiatric Association,
1994) . Dieting behaviors are also more like ly to occur in women (We rtheim
et al., 1992; Worsle y, Worsle y, McCom mon, & Silva, 1990) . Similarly, ado-
lescent and young adult fe males, in comparison to their male counte rparts,
are more like ly to aspire to an ide al body size smalle r than the ir current
size (Fallon & Rozin, 1985; Tigge mann & Pe nnington, 1990; Werthe im et
al., 1992) .
To whom co rre spondence should be addressed at La Trobe University, Bundoora, V ic. 3083
A ustralia (email: e.we rthe firstname.lastname@example.org).
0360-0025/99/0800-0169$1 6.00/ 0
1999 Plenum Pu bl ish in g Corporation