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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Authors

External Institution(s)

  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Details

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)366-371
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume66
Issue number3
StatusPublished - Mar 2020
Peer-reviewedYes

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.

    Research areas

  • Adolescent, Father–child relations, Feeding and eating disorders, Mother–child relations, Parent–child relations, Young adult