British Journal of Clinical Psychology

Skip to Search

Skip to Navigation

Volume 37 Issue 1 (February 1998), Pages 1-126

Mothers, daughters and dieting: Investigating the transmission of weight control (pages 3-13)

Objectives. Research by Pike & Rodin (1991) found higher levels of weight concern and dissatisfactions with family functioning in mothers of eating disordered adolescent girls. The present study sought to extend this research by examining the maternal influences on weight and dieting concerns at a younger age.

Design. A cross‐sectional comparison of high and low dietary restraint girls and their mothers was used.

Methods. Two groups of 20 11‐year‐old girls and their mothers completed assessments of dietary restraint, body shape preference, self‐perception, family functioning and body weight and height.

Results. Mothers of high restraint girls did not differ from comparison mothers in their current level of dieting, but did report more between‐meal snacking and fasting. In addition, they rated their daughters' attractiveness significantly lower than the other mothers. Furthermore, families with a highly restrained daughter scored significantly lower on perceived family cohesion, organization and moral‐religious emphasis.

Conclusions. The parallel with the findings of Pike & Rodin supports the role that mothers may play in the transmission of cultural values regarding weight, shape and appearance. Importantly, it also places early dieting within a wider context of dissatisfaction with family functioning.

Add This link

Bookmark and Share>