The impact of appearance-related teasing by family members

Helene Keery, Kerri Boutelle, Patricia Van Den Berg, J. Kevin Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: This study evaluated the prevalence and effects of teasing by family members on body dissatisfaction, eating disturbance, and psychological functioning. Methods: Self-report data were collected from 372 middle school girls who were part of a larger study in a Tampa Bay, Florida area middle school (mean age: 12.6 years; 85% Caucasian). Results: Twenty-three percent of participants reported appearance-related teasing by a parent, and 12% were teased by a parent about being heavy. Nineteen percent of the girls reported appearance-related teasing by fathers, 13% reported appearance-related teasing by mothers, and 29% reported appearance-related teasing by siblings. After controlling for body mass index (BMI) and maternal teasing, paternal teasing was a significant predictor of body dissatisfaction, comparison, thin-ideal internalization, restriction, bulimic behaviors, self-esteem, and depression. After controlling for BMI and paternal teasing, maternal teasing was a significant predictor of depression. After controlling for BMI and maternal teasing, paternal teasing significantly increased the odds of having a sibling who teases. Girls who reported being teased by at least one sibling demonstrated significantly higher levels of body dissatisfaction, comparison, thin-ideal internalization, restriction, bulimic behaviors, depression, and significantly lower levels of self-esteem than those girls who reported they were not teased by their siblings. Frequency of teasing was associated with higher levels of negative outcomes. Conclusions: This study has implications for treatment and prevention of eating disorders. The results suggest that health care providers should assess appearance-related teasing in their patients' lives to identify girls who may be at risk for body image and eating disturbance and poor psychological functioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-127
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2005

Keywords

  • Body image
  • Eating disorders
  • Risk factors
  • Teasing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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