OBJECTIVE: To investigate the relation of maternal and peer attitudes and behaviors to changes in eating disorder risk factors and symptoms in adolescent females.
METHOD: We tested whether maternal and peer eating attitudes, behaviors, and deficits in social support at baseline predicted subsequent increases in eating disorder risk factors and symptoms among 483 late adolescent females followed over 3 years.
RESULTS: Data provide partial support for hypotheses, as eating disorder risk factors and symptoms increased over time and maternal thin ideal internalization significantly predicted a future increases in adolescent bulimic symptoms. There were no significant predictors of adolescent thin ideal internalization or body dissatisfaction.
DISCUSSION: Findings only partially support the hypothesis that unhealthy attitudes and behaviors of mothers increase risk for eating disorder symptoms in their late adolescent daughters. These results underscore why eating disorder prevention programs should be based on risk factor research that has used prospective and rigorous designs.
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