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Developmental antecedents of abnormal eating attitudes and behaviors in adolescence.

  • Author(s): Le Grange, Daniel
  • O'Connor, Meredith
  • Hughes, Elizabeth K
  • Macdonald, Jacqui
  • Little, Keriann
  • Olsson, Craig A
  • et al.

Published Web Location

https://doi.org/10.1002/eat.22331
Abstract

OBJECTIVE: This study capitalizes on developmental data from an Australian population-based birth cohort to identify developmental markers of abnormal eating attitudes and behaviors in adolescence. The aims were twofold: (1) to develop a comprehensive path model identifying infant and childhood developmental correlates of Abnormal Eating Attitudes and Behaviors in adolescence, and (2) to explore potential gender differences. METHOD: Data were drawn from a 30-year longitudinal study that has followed the health and development of a population based cohort across 15 waves of data collection from infancy since 1983: The Australian Temperament Project. Participants in this analysis were the 1,300 youth who completed the 11th survey at 15-16 years (1998) and who completed the eating disorder inventory at this time point. RESULTS: Developmental correlates of Abnormal Eating Attitudes and Behaviors in mid-adolescence were temperamental persistence, early gestational age, persistent high weight, teen depression, stronger peer relationships, maternal dieting behavior, and pubertal timing. Overall, these factors accounted for 28% of the variance in Abnormal Eating Attitudes and Behaviors at 15-16 years of age. Depressive symptoms, maternal dieting behavior, and early puberty were more important factors for girls. Late puberty was a more important factor for boys. DISCUSSION: Findings address an important gap in our understanding of the etiology of Abnormal Eating Attitudes and Behaviors in adolescence and suggest multiple targets for preventive intervention.

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