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. 2020 Mar;66(3):366-371.
doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2019.09.019. Epub 2019 Nov 10.

Mother-Child and Father-Child Connectedness in Adolescence and Disordered Eating Symptoms in Young Adulthood

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Mother-Child and Father-Child Connectedness in Adolescence and Disordered Eating Symptoms in Young Adulthood

Vivienne M Hazzard et al. J Adolesc Health. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Purpose: The aim of the study was to examine mother-child connectedness and father-child connectedness in adolescence as potential protective factors against a range of disordered eating symptoms in young adulthood among males and females.

Methods: This study used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (N = 13,532). Sex-stratified logistic regression models adjusted for demographic covariates were conducted to examine associations of youth-reported mother-child connectedness and father-child connectedness in adolescence (mean age = 15.4 years) with disordered eating symptoms in young adulthood (mean age = 21.8 years).

Results: In this nationally representative sample of U.S. young adults, 7.2% of participants reported binge eating-related concerns, 3.7% reported compensatory behaviors (e.g., self-induced vomiting) to control weight, and 8.6% reported fasting/skipping meals to control weight. Among females, both higher mother-child connectedness and higher father-child connectedness were associated with lower odds of binge eating-related concerns (mother-child: odds ratio [OR] = .83, 95% confidence interval [CI] = .74-.94; father-child: OR = .79, 95% CI = .69-.91), compensatory behaviors (mother-child: OR = .85, 95% CI = .75-.97; father-child: OR = .81, 95% CI = .69-.95), and fasting/skipping meals (mother-child: OR = .79, 95% CI = .72-.87; father-child: OR = .81, 95% CI = .73-.91). No statistically significant associations were observed for mother-child connectedness or father-child connectedness with future disordered eating symptoms among males.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that improving mother-child connectedness and father-child connectedness in adolescence may be valuable targets for eating disorders intervention, particularly among females.

Keywords: Adolescent; Father–child relations; Feeding and eating disorders; Mother–child relations; Parent–child relations; Young adult.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflicts of Interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest or financial conflicts relevant to this article to disclose.

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