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Adolescents' Level of Eating Psychopathology Is Related to Perceptions of Their Parents' Current Feeding Practices

      Abstract

      Purpose

      This study aimed to examine the relationships between adolescents' eating disorder attitudes and their perceptions of the feeding practices that their parents/caregivers currently use.

      Methods

      Boys and girls (N = 528) aged 13–15 completed self-report measures of their levels of eating psychopathology and their parents' current feeding practices and reported their own height and weight.

      Results

      For girls, greater perceived pressure from parents to eat food and lower perceived parental responsibility for food were significantly related to more unhealthy eating-related attitudes. Similar to girls, lower perceived parental responsibility for food was significantly related to greater levels of eating psychopathology in boys. Greater perceived parental restriction of foods was also significantly related to greater eating psychopathology in boys.

      Conclusions

      These results suggest that adolescents' perceptions of their parents' use of more controlling feeding practices are related to greater prevalence of unhealthy eating-related attitudes. Such findings have potentially important implications for the prevention of disordered eating in adolescents.

      Keywords

      Implications and Contribution
      Adolescents' perceptions of their parents' food- and mealtime-related practices are related to their own unhealthy eating-related attitudes. Advising parents/caregivers to avoid using controlling feeding practices with their teens is recommended for promoting more positive eating behaviors and sustained behavior changes within adolescents and their families.
      Parental use of controlling feeding practices has been shown to be related to children's inability to regulate their own food intake [
      • Birch L.L.
      • Fisher J.O.
      Development of eating behaviours among children and adolescents.
      ,
      • Fisher J.O.
      • Birch L.L.
      Restricting access to foods and children's eating.
      ,
      • Johnson S.L.
      • Birch L.L.
      Parents' and children's adiposity and eating style.
      ], to children's weight status [
      • Fisher J.O.
      • Birch L.L.
      Restricting access to foods and children's eating.
      ,
      • Fisher J.O.
      • Birch L.L.
      Eating in the absence of hunger and overweight in girls from 5 to 7 y of age.
      ,
      • Spruijt-Metz D.
      • Lindquist C.H.
      • Birch L.L.
      • et al.
      Relation between mothers' child-feeding practices and children's adiposity.
      ], and to the later development of disordered eating behaviors [
      • Marchi M.
      • Cohen P.
      Early childhood eating behaviors and adolescent eating disorders.
      ]. Specifically, the use of restrictive feeding practices has been found to relate to children's restrained eating [
      • Edmunds H.
      • Hill A.J.
      Dieting and the family context of eating in young adolescent children.
      ] and pressure to eat has been associated with young girls' later dietary restraint and disinhibited eating [
      • Carper J.L.
      • Fisher J.O.
      • Birch L.L.
      Young girls' emerging dietary restraint and disinhibition are related to parental control in child feeding.
      ]. In addition, parental monitoring of their children's food intake has been associated with increased child weight [
      • Tiggemann M.
      • Lowes J.
      Predictors of maternal control over children's eating behaviour.
      ], but also with children's food choices and with children making healthier food selections when they know that their parents are monitoring them [
      • Klesges R.C.
      • Stein R.J.
      • Eck L.H.
      • et al.
      Parental influence on food selection in young children and its relationships to childhood obesity.
      ]. The degree of control exerted by parents with regard to child feeding provides a potential behavioral mechanism via which parental attitudes and beliefs may be transmitted to their children [
      • Tiggemann M.
      • Lowes J.
      Predictors of maternal control over children's eating behaviour.
      ].
      Although research has tended to focus on parents' feeding practices with young children, when eating and feeding is primarily under parental control, parents/caregivers still maintain a degree of responsibility for feeding their child throughout childhood and into adolescence [
      • Neumark-Sztainer D.
      • Story M.
      • Ackard D.
      • et al.
      Family meals among adolescents: Findings from a pilot study.
      ]. Adolescence is a key time for the onset of eating disorders [
      • Striegel-Moore R.H.
      • Bulik C.M.
      Risk factors for eating disorders.
      ] and identifying modifiable factors associated with the development of eating psychopathology is a primary aim for health professionals. Engaging in family mealtimes, prioritizing eating as a family and having more positive mealtimes have all been shown to be associated with lower levels of [
      • Neumark-Sztainer D.
      • Wall M.
      • Story M.
      • Fulkerson J.A.
      Are family meal patterns associated with disordered eating behaviors among adolescents?.
      ], and to be protective against [
      • Neumark-Sztainer D.
      • Eisenberg M.E.
      • Fulkerson J.A.
      • et al.
      Family meals and disordered eating in adolescents - Longitudinal findings from project EAT.
      ], eating-disordered behaviors among adolescents. However, given the established associations between parental control around feeding with both disruptions in children's appetite regulation [
      • Birch L.L.
      • Fisher J.O.
      Development of eating behaviours among children and adolescents.
      ,
      • Fisher J.O.
      • Birch L.L.
      Restricting access to foods and children's eating.
      ,
      • Johnson S.L.
      • Birch L.L.
      Parents' and children's adiposity and eating style.
      ] and with the development of disordered eating [
      • Marchi M.
      • Cohen P.
      Early childhood eating behaviors and adolescent eating disorders.
      ,
      • Edmunds H.
      • Hill A.J.
      Dieting and the family context of eating in young adolescent children.
      ,
      • Carper J.L.
      • Fisher J.O.
      • Birch L.L.
      Young girls' emerging dietary restraint and disinhibition are related to parental control in child feeding.
      ], it follows that parents' feeding practices may be linked to the eating attitudes and behaviors of their adolescent offspring. Indeed, previous work has begun to examine early adolescents' perceptions of parental feeding control, finding that perceived parental restriction of food was related to adolescents' dietary restraint [
      • Edmunds H.
      • Hill A.J.
      Dieting and the family context of eating in young adolescent children.
      ]. However, the impact of parental use of pressure, monitoring of food intake, and responsibility for food/meals has not been assessed previously in adolescents.
      Much of the research into feeding practices has focused on parental reports, which have been shown to be valid and reliable indicators of parents' feeding practices [
      • Cooper P.J.
      • Whelan E.
      • Woolgar M.
      • et al.
      Association between childhood feeding problems and maternal eating disorder: Role of the family environment.
      ,
      • Whelan E.
      • Cooper P.J.
      The association between childhood feeding problems and maternal eating disorder: A community study.
      ], but adults and adolescents living in the same household have been found to differ in their perceptions of the family mealtime environment and adolescent eating patterns [
      • Boutelle K.N.
      • Lytle L.A.
      • Murray D.M.
      • et al.
      Perceptions of the family mealtime environment and adolescent mealtime behavior: Do adults and adolescents agree?.
      ]. Therefore, there is value in obtaining adolescents' views of their parents' feeding practices, given that these perceptions might be related to, or have an effect on, their eating attitudes and behaviors.
      In summary, parental use of controlling feeding practices has been associated with disruptions in their offspring's ability to regulate their food intake and with the development of eating-disordered attitudes and behaviors. These findings are primarily based on data provided by parents, meaning that adolescents' perceptions of their parents' mealtime practices have not been thoroughly explored. Moreover, although eating disorders are more prevalent in females, males experience eating disorder symptoms too and thus it is important that research considers both adolescent girls and boys [
      • Hautala L.A.
      • Junnila J.
      • Helenius H.
      • et al.
      Towards understanding gender differences in disordered eating among adolescents.
      ]. To date, research has not examined the relationships between adolescents' perceptions of a wide variety of their parents' feeding practices with reports of their eating psychopathology. This study aimed to address this gap. Based on previous findings [
      • Marchi M.
      • Cohen P.
      Early childhood eating behaviors and adolescent eating disorders.
      ,
      • Edmunds H.
      • Hill A.J.
      Dieting and the family context of eating in young adolescent children.
      ,
      • Carper J.L.
      • Fisher J.O.
      • Birch L.L.
      Young girls' emerging dietary restraint and disinhibition are related to parental control in child feeding.
      ], it was predicted that perceptions of more controlling feeding practices (more pressure to eat and restriction of foods) would be related to significantly greater eating disorder symptoms in both girls and boys.

      Method

      Participants

      Adolescents (N = 828) aged 13–15 years were recruited via schools within the United Kingdom as part of an ongoing study into eating and exercise. Participants completed self-report measures (see the following section) and reported their age, gender, height, and weight. Many participants did not know their height and/or weight, resulting in a significant amount of missing data. Because body mass index (BMI) is frequently associated with eating disorder symptoms [
      • Hudson J.I.
      • Hiripi E.
      • Pope Jr., H.G.
      • Kessler R.C.
      The prevalence and correlates of eating disorders in the national comorbidity survey replication.
      ] and feeding practices [
      • Kaur H.
      • Li C.
      • Nazir N.
      • et al.
      Confirmatory factor analysis of the child-feeding questionnaire among parents of adolescents.
      ], and therefore needed to be controlled for in our analyses, only participants for whom complete BMI data were available were retained
      In comparison to individuals who provided BMI data and were retained in the sample, individuals for whom BMI data were not available did not differ significantly on any of the CFQ-A subscales but had significantly higher EDI total scores (z = −2.53, p = .011).
      . This left a final sample of 528 adolescents (275 females and 253 males). BMI z scores (BMIz), accounting for age and gender [
      Child Growth Foundation
      Cross Sectional Stature and Weight Reference Curves for the UK.
      ], were calculated for the sample. The average BMIz score for girls was −.00 (SD = 1.13) and for boys was .37 (SD = 1.37), indicating generally healthy weights.

      Measures and procedure

      Following Institutional Review Board ethical approval, five schools were recruited to take part in this study. After providing written informed consent, participants completed two self-report measures during a designated lesson at school. Class teachers in each school administered the survey and were provided with a “script” in order to standardize the procedure. No incentives were provided to pupils for taking part in this study and participants not wishing to take part completed an alternative task.

      Child feeding questionnaire-adolescents (CFQ-A)

      The CFQ [
      • Kaur H.
      • Li C.
      • Nazir N.
      • et al.
      Confirmatory factor analysis of the child-feeding questionnaire among parents of adolescents.
      ,
      • Birch L.L.
      • Fisher J.O.
      • Grimm-Thomas K.
      • et al.
      Confirmatory factor analysis of the Child Feeding Questionnaire: A measure of parental attitudes, beliefs and practices about child feeding and obesity proneness.
      ] assesses parents' reports of their child feeding practices. It was adapted by Kaur and colleagues [
      • Kaur H.
      • Li C.
      • Nazir N.
      • et al.
      Confirmatory factor analysis of the child-feeding questionnaire among parents of adolescents.
      ] for use by parents of adolescents and we made further minor modifications to those adapted questions so that they were suitable for adolescents to complete about their perceptions of their parents' feeding practices. For example, “How often do you keep track of the high fat food that your teen eats?” was rephrased to “How often do your parents keep track of the high fat foods that you eat?”. The 5-point Likert scale response options and scoring remained the same. Four of the CFQ subscales were of relevance to this study, namely those that tap feeding practices and responsibility: perceived feeding responsibility (e.g., “How often are your parents responsible for deciding if you have eaten the right kind of foods?”); monitoring (e.g., “How often do your parents keep track of the sugary beverages that you drink?”); pressure to eat (e.g., “If you say ‘I'm not hungry,’ your parents try to get you to eat anyway”); and restriction (e.g., “If my parents did not guide or regulate my eating, I would eat too many junk foods”). Average scores are calculated for each subscale and higher scores indicate greater use of each feeding practice. The CFQ has been widely used as a measure of feeding practices and both versions have demonstrated adequate reliability [
      • Kaur H.
      • Li C.
      • Nazir N.
      • et al.
      Confirmatory factor analysis of the child-feeding questionnaire among parents of adolescents.
      ,
      • Birch L.L.
      • Fisher J.O.
      • Grimm-Thomas K.
      • et al.
      Confirmatory factor analysis of the Child Feeding Questionnaire: A measure of parental attitudes, beliefs and practices about child feeding and obesity proneness.
      ]. The Cronbach's alphas for the CFQ-A in this sample were satisfactory (perceived responsibility α .68; monitoring α .90; pressure to eat α .63; restriction α .85).

      Eating disorder inventory-II (EDI)

      Questions from the three eating-related subscales of the EDI [
      • Garner D.M.
      Eating Disorders Inventory 2: Professional manual.
      ], which assess drive for thinness, bulimic symptoms, and body dissatisfaction, were included in this study. Participants responded to each of the 23 items on a 6-point Likert scale and responses were summed to create a total EDI score in which higher scores correspond to greater eating disorder symptoms (score range 0–66). The EDI is valid for use with adolescents [
      • Rosen J.C.
      • Silberg N.T.
      • Gross J.
      Eating Attitudes Test and Eating Disorders Inventory – Norms for adolescent girls and boys.
      ] and has been used successfully with nonclinical adolescent samples [
      • Bratland-Sanda S.
      • Sundgot-Borgen J.
      Symptoms of eating disorders, drive for muscularity and physical activity among Norwegian adolescents.
      ]. In the current sample, the Cronbach's alpha for the EDI total was .92.

      Data analysis

      Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests identified the data to be nonnormally distributed and therefore nonparametric tests were used where possible. Preliminary Mann Whitney U tests confirmed significant differences between boys and girls on several of the study's variables (Table 1), so subsequent analyses were run for boys and girls separately. Furthermore, Spearman's correlations were conducted between adolescents' age and BMIz with the EDI and CFQ-A subscales. BMIz was significantly and positively associated with EDI total for both girls (r = .304, p < .001) and boys (r = .244, p < .001) and to restriction for girls (r = .156, p < .05) and was negatively correlated with pressure for boys (r = −.159, p < .05). BMIz was therefore controlled for in the analyses. To test the hypothesis that more controlling feeding practices would be related to greater eating disorder symptoms, two multiple regressions (Enter method) were run. BMIz was entered into step 1 and the four CFQ-A subscales were entered into step 2 as potential correlates (statistical predictors) of EDI total.
      Table 1Descriptive statistics for the EDI total and CFQ subscales and tests of difference between girls' and boys' scores
      GirlsBoysMann Whitney U
      Mean (SD)Minimum-maximumMean (SD)Minimum-maximum
      EDI total18.30 (14.35)0–618.51 (10.31)0–6010.84
      p < .001.
      CFQ perceived responsibility3.64 (.82)1–53.57 (.89)1–5.74
      CFQ monitoring2.63 (1.10)1–52.61 (1.08)1–5.02
      CFQ pressure to eat3.16 (.94)1–52.94 (.83)1–52.97
      p < .01.
      CFQ restriction2.18 (.87)1–52.37 (.90)1–53.07
      p < .01.
      CFQ = Child feeding questionnaire; EDI = Eating disorder inventory; SD = standard deviation.
      ∗∗ p < .01.
      ∗∗∗ p < .001.

      Results

      Descriptive statistics

      Descriptive statistics for this sample can be seen in Table 1, along with the results of the Mann Whitney U tests conducted to identify gender differences.
      Girls' scores on the EDI total and pressure to eat subscale were significantly higher than boys' scores. Boys' restriction scores were significantly higher than girls' scores. There were no other significant differences.
      Multiple regressions were run separately for boys and girls to test the hypothesis that more controlling feeding practices would be related to greater eating psychopathology (Table 2).
      Table 2Results of the multiple regressions, for girls and for boys, examining BMI z scores and CFQ scores as potential correlates (statistical predictors) of EDI scores
      EDI scores
      GirlsBoys
      BetatBetat
      BMI z score.325.27
      p < .001.
      .2894.52
      p < .001.
      CFQ perceived responsibility−.121.93
      p < .05.
      −.233.66
      p < .001.
      CFQ monitoring.05.76.101.43
      CFQ pressure to eat.172.76
      p < .01.
      −.04.61
      CFQ restriction.091.29.294.21
      p < .001.
      BMI z = body mass index z score; CFQ = Child feeding questionnaire; EDI = Eating disorder inventory.
      p < .05.
      ∗∗ p < .01.
      ∗∗∗ p < .001.
      For girls, the overall model was significant (F = 9.067, p < .001) and accounted for 16% of the variance. BMIz and perceived pressure to eat were both positively associated with EDI total and perceived feeding responsibility was negatively associated with EDI total. Monitoring and restriction were not significantly associated with EDI total. For boys, the overall model was significant (F = 12.820, p < .001) and accounted for 23% of the variance. BMIz and perceived restriction were both positively associated with EDI total and perceived feeding responsibility was negatively associated with EDI total. Monitoring and pressure to eat were not significantly related to EDI total.

      Discussion

      This study aimed to examine the relationships between adolescents' eating-related attitudes and their reports of their parents' practices around food and mealtimes. The study's hypothesis was supported. Specifically, adolescent boys who reported feeling greater parental restriction of food and adolescent girls who reported greater perceived parental pressure to eat also reported higher levels of eating psychopathology. In addition, male and female adolescents' perceptions of greater levels of food responsibility from parents were associated with lower eating psychopathology scores.
      Adolescence is a time of developing autonomy. Although these data suggest that adolescents' perceptions of their parents' monitoring of their food intake is not related to their eating disorder symptoms, perceiving their parents as being less responsible for their food or more controlling were significantly related to disordered eating. The cross-sectional nature of these data prevents us from determining cause and effect, so it is not known whether these feeding practices may be being used by parents as a result of their adolescent engaging in less healthy eating behaviors or whether disordered eating has resulted from these practices. These findings support and extend previous research [
      • Edmunds H.
      • Hill A.J.
      Dieting and the family context of eating in young adolescent children.
      ] by highlighting adolescents' perceptions of parental control as correlates of their unhealthy eating attitudes. Interestingly, the current study found different feeding practices to be significantly related to eating psychopathology for girls and boys. For girls, it was perceived pressure to eat more food which was related to higher levels of eating psychopathology, whereas for boys, greater restriction of food was linked to eating psychopathology. Pressure to eat is often used with children who are underweight [
      • Francis L.A.
      • Hofer S.M.
      • Birch L.L.
      Predictors of maternal child-feeding style: Maternal and child characteristics.
      ,
      • Gregory J.E.
      • Paxton S.J.
      • Brozovic A.M.
      Pressure to eat and restriction are associated with child eating behaviours and maternal concern about child weight, but not child body mass index, in 2- to 4-year-old children.
      ] and it is possible that parents might be using this practice to encourage adolescent girls who may be restricting their intake to eat more. Interestingly, boys' perception of parental food restriction was related to greater levels of eating psychopathology. Parental use of restrictive feeding practices has been found to relate to children's restrained eating [
      • Edmunds H.
      • Hill A.J.
      Dieting and the family context of eating in young adolescent children.
      ] and so these findings support previous work by identifying an association between perceived restriction and eating pathology in boys. Restriction is often associated with parental concern about overweight, both in themselves [
      • Haycraft E.
      • Blissett J.
      Maternal and paternal controlling feeding practices: Reliability and relationships with BMI.
      ] and their children [
      • Fisher J.O.
      • Birch L.L.
      Restricting access to foods and children's eating.
      ,
      • Fisher J.O.
      • Birch L.L.
      Eating in the absence of hunger and overweight in girls from 5 to 7 y of age.
      ,
      • Spruijt-Metz D.
      • Lindquist C.H.
      • Birch L.L.
      • et al.
      Relation between mothers' child-feeding practices and children's adiposity.
      ], and so it may be that parents with such concerns are likely to restrict their son's food intake but do not feel comfortable restricting girls' intake, believing that this would be dangerous for girls, given the well-publicized incidence of restrictive eating problems among females.
      Adolescents' perceptions of their parents being more responsible for their food was related to lower levels of eating psychopathology in both girls and boys. These findings suggest that parental involvement in meals is related to healthier eating-related attitudes in this sample, which concurs with evidence highlighting the protective effect of family meals for the development of eating disorders in adolescence [
      • Neumark-Sztainer D.
      • Eisenberg M.E.
      • Fulkerson J.A.
      • et al.
      Family meals and disordered eating in adolescents - Longitudinal findings from project EAT.
      ]. Although previous studies have demonstrated the adverse impact that controlling feeding practices can have on children's eating behaviors [
      • Birch L.L.
      • Fisher J.O.
      Development of eating behaviours among children and adolescents.
      ,
      • Fisher J.O.
      • Birch L.L.
      Restricting access to foods and children's eating.
      ,
      • Johnson S.L.
      • Birch L.L.
      Parents' and children's adiposity and eating style.
      ,
      • Fisher J.O.
      • Birch L.L.
      Eating in the absence of hunger and overweight in girls from 5 to 7 y of age.
      ], the current study's finding highlights that moderate amounts of parental involvement in their child's eating, such as being responsible for providing food and meals, may be beneficial for children's ongoing relationships with food and eating.
      Although much research has focused on parents' reports of their feeding practices, a strength of this study is the consideration of adolescents' perceptions of their parents' feeding and food-related practices, which has enabled consideration of the relationship between these perceptions about parents' attitudes toward food/mealtimes and adolescents' own eating behaviors. This preliminary study also benefited from having a good sample size, was sufficiently powered to detect significant results, and considered both girls and boys. Despite these strengths, the study had some limitations. Adolescents self-reported their height and weight data, resulting in a significant amount of missing data, which therefore reduced the sample size. Research has shown self-reported height and weight to be relatively accurately reported in adults [
      • Haycraft E.
      • Blissett J.
      Maternal and paternal controlling feeding practices: Reliability and relationships with BMI.
      ] but future research would benefit from including an objective assessment of adolescents' height and weight data because the accuracy of these adolescents' reports cannot be determined. Furthermore, many participants did not know their height and/or weight, which resulted in them being removed from the sample. Analyses suggested that these individuals had higher EDI total scores than those who provided BMI data, which indicates that our sample may not have included those with more extreme eating-disordered attitudes and behaviors. Although demonstrating adequate reliability in this sample, the CFQ-A was adapted for this study and requires further validation and testing. Future research, building on this study, should consider adolescents' views of their mothers' and fathers' feeding interactions separately, in view of evidence demonstrating that mothers and fathers can exhibit different influences on their children's eating [
      • Haycraft E.
      • Blissett J.
      Predictors of paternal and maternal controlling feeding practices with 2 to 5-year-old children.
      ]. Future research would also benefit from obtaining reports from adolescents and their parents to identify correspondence between parent-child reports and to explore differences or similarities in the relationships seen depending on the respondent. Moreover, adolescents with greater levels of disordered eating might be more sensitive to food-related behaviors exhibited by their parents, which might have affected their responses in this study; as a result, obtaining perceptions of feeding practices from both adolescents and their parents is encouraged in future studies that aim to build on our initial findings.
      Clinicians, health professionals, and others (e.g., teachers) working with adolescents and their families would benefit from a greater awareness of the potential link between parents' feeding practices and adolescents' attitudes toward food and eating. Whilst engaging in and enjoying family mealtimes is recommended during adolescence [
      • Neumark-Sztainer D.
      • Wall M.
      • Story M.
      • Fulkerson J.A.
      Are family meal patterns associated with disordered eating behaviors among adolescents?.
      ,
      • Neumark-Sztainer D.
      • Eisenberg M.E.
      • Fulkerson J.A.
      • et al.
      Family meals and disordered eating in adolescents - Longitudinal findings from project EAT.
      ,
      • Neumark-Sztainer D.
      Preventing obesity and eating disorders in adolescents: What can health care providers do?.
      ], advising parents and caregivers to avoid the use of overly controlling feeding practices with their teens is likely to be an effective and easy-to-implement way to contribute to more positive eating behaviors and is in line with efforts to bring about sustained behavior changes within adolescents and their families [
      • Neumark-Sztainer D.
      Preventing obesity and eating disorders in adolescents: What can health care providers do?.
      ].
      Parents have been found to be more likely to use controlling feeding practices when they have their own eating or weight concerns [
      • Costanzo P.R.
      • Woody E.Z.
      Domain-specific parenting styles and their impact on the child's development of particular deviance: The example of obesity proneness.
      ], symptoms of psychopathology [
      • Haycraft E.
      • Blissett J.
      Controlling feeding practices and psychopathology in a non-clinical sample of mothers and fathers.
      ], or are overweight themselves [
      • Haycraft E.
      • Blissett J.
      Maternal and paternal controlling feeding practices: Reliability and relationships with BMI.
      ]. Thus, in families of adolescents in which health professionals identify a risk of parental use of controlling feeding (e.g., in obese parents or those with eating disorders), it may be beneficial to recommend the avoidance of controlling practices and to encourage parents to take some degree of responsibility for their adolescents' meals/food provision. Furthermore, assessing parental eating psychopathology is also recommended for future studies in view of the intergenerational transmission of eating psychopathology [
      • Stein A.
      • Woolley H.
      • Cooper S.
      • et al.
      Eating habits and attitudes among 10-year-old children of mothers with eating disorders: Longitudinal study.
      ] and the established links between parental eating disorder symptoms and the use of controlling feeding practices [
      • Haycraft E.
      • Blissett J.
      Predictors of paternal and maternal controlling feeding practices with 2 to 5-year-old children.
      ,
      • Haycraft E.
      • Blissett J.
      Controlling feeding practices and psychopathology in a non-clinical sample of mothers and fathers.
      ,
      • Blissett J.
      • Meyer C.
      • Haycraft E.
      Maternal and paternal controlling feeding practices with male and female children.
      ].
      In conclusion, this study has provided preliminary evidence for the links between adolescents' perceptions of their parents' food- and mealtime-related practices and their levels of unhealthy eating-related attitudes. Girls' perceptions of parental pressure to eat and boys' perceptions of restriction of food were associated with higher levels of eating disorder symptoms. Further work is required to test these relationships longitudinally, in order to identify the temporal precedence.

      Acknowledgments

      Huw Goodwin was supported by a PhD studentship awarded by Loughborough University. No other individuals made significant contributions to this study.
      Emma Haycraft produced the first draft of the manuscript and both coauthors edited and approved it.

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