Body-image dissatisfaction and eating attitudes in mothers and daughters
The present study investigated body-image dissatisfaction, chronic dieting, and negative eating attitudes, three attributes often associated with the development of eating disorders, particularly in women. A population of mothers (N = 133) and their daughters from three age groups--child, preadolescent, and adolescent (N = 151)--recruited from a suburban pediatric practice was studied. Body-image dissatisfaction was measured using the silhouette technique developed by Williamson, Davis, Goreczny, and Blouin (1989), together with a newly devised set of silhouettes for use with girls called the Figure Assessment Technique (FAT). Mothers and daughters were asked to keep three-day diet records. Mothers and adolescents were administered the EDI, EAT, and the Restraint Scale. In addition, Body Mass Index was calculated for each participant. Findings by Williamson et al. (1989) and Fallon and Rozin (1988), that women desire a thinner ideal body shape than their current body shape, were replicated and extended to adolescents and preadolescents. In addition, the present study found significantly greater body image dissatisfaction among adolescents and preadolescents than younger latency-age girls. Body-image dissatisfaction for adolescents was comparable to that for adult women. A high Body Mass Index (BMI) was found to be highly predictive of body-image dissatisfaction in both mothers and adolescent daughters. Adolescent EDI and RS responses confirmed their preoccupation with dieting and the pursuit of thinness within this group. In addition, daughters restricted their caloric intake when mothers were chronic dieters, suggesting that daughters imitated their mother's dieting behavior.