Studying intergenerational transmission of eating attitudes and behaviors: methodological and conceptual questions.
Associations between parent and child attitudes and behaviors related to eating and weight were examined among college-age men and women and their mothers and fathers (ns = 44, 47, 87, and 66, respectively). Parent attitudes and behaviors were assessed from the perspective of the parent and the student, and 2 pathways of influence were examined: modeling and direct criticism. In general, students' attitudes and behaviors were more strongly related to perceptions of their parents rather than to parents' own self-reports. There was more support for perceived direct criticism as a pathway of influence, particularly for daughters. Perceived criticism about eating and appearance had large associations with student attitudes and behaviors. Weight loss behavior was related to perceived criticism among daughters and to perceived paternal eating attitudes among sons. Results highlight important methodological and conceptual questions for intergenerational research.
Baker, CW; Whisman, MA; Brownell, KD
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