Unhealthy behaviors and psychosocial difficulties among overweight adolescents: the potential impact of familial factors.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

PURPOSE: To compare overweight and non-overweight youth on a selection of self-reported eating, physical activity, dieting, educational, and emotional variables and identify familial factors that serve as protective forces against unhealthy behaviors and psychosocial difficulties among overweight adolescents. METHODS: Data were taken from a 1996 cross-sectional school-based survey of 9957 adolescents in grades 7, 9, and 11. Based on self-reported heights and weights, respondents were categorized as "overweight" (body mass index) > or =85th percentile or "non-overweight." Student's t-tests were used to compare the non-overweight and overweight sample on the self-reported health-related behaviors and psychosocial variables. Logistic and linear regressions were used to identify familial factors associated with a reduced risk of engaging in unhealthy behaviors and experiencing psychosocial distress. RESULTS: Overweight adolescents reported engaging in significantly more unhealthy behaviors and experiencing more psychosocial distress than their non-overweight peers. Among the overweight youth, higher levels of reported family connectedness and parental expectations and moderate levels of parental monitoring were associated with the lowest levels of unhealthy behaviors and psychosocial distress. CONCLUSIONS: Satisfying and developmentally appropriate parent-adolescent relationships are associated with reduced behavioral and psychosocial risk factors associated with overweight during adolescence.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mellin, AE; Neumark-Sztainer, D; Story, M; Ireland, M; Resnick, MD

Published Date

  • August 2002

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 31 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 145 - 153

PubMed ID

  • 12127384

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1054-139X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/s1054-139x(01)00396-2


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States