Concerns about weight and shape in overweight 12 year old girls and their mothers.
Concerns about weight, shape and eating and attempts at dietary restraint are
prevalent among young girls, but may increase of the risk of the development of eating
disorders, especially if low self-esteem or symptoms of depression are also present. The
literature suggests that there may be links between mothers and daughters attitudes
towards weight, shape and dietary restraint. The aim of the study was to investigate
whether concerns about weight, shape and eating and attempts at dietary restraint
differed between overweight and average-weight girls; and whether overweight girls
had lower self-esteem, and/or more symptoms of depression than average-weight girls.
Possible links between mothers' and daughters' attitudes towards weight and shape
and dietary restraint were also investigated. Results showed that overweight girls had
more concerns about weight, shape and eating and attempted dietary restraint more
than average weight girls. Overweight girls had more negative perception of their
athletic competencep, hysical appearance and global self-worth, and more symptoms of
depression than average-weight girls. Mothers of overweight girls, who themselves had
higher BMIs than the mothers of average-weight girls, had more concerns and negative
beliefs about weight, shape and eating and attempted more dietary restraint, than the
mothers of average-weight girls. Although there was some association between
mothers' and daughters' concerns in the average-weight group these associations were
not present in the overweight group. The conclusions were that overweight girls may be
particularly vulnerable to the development of eating disorders, but that the links
between mothers' and daughters' concerns are not straightforward.