Adolescents' level of eating psychopathology is related to perceptions of their parents' current feeding practices

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.