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OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether family functioning and cognitions in a group of overweight female adolescents differ significantly from those in a group of normal weight female adolescents. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SUBJECTS: In all, 23 overweight female adolescents (mean age: 17.6 y, mean body mass index (BMI: 27.8 kg/m2), and 23 normal weight female adolescents (mean age: 17.7 y, mean BMI: 20.2 kg/m2). MEASUREMENTS: The following self-report measures were completed: the Parental Bonding Inventory, the Young Schema Questionnaire-short version, the Eating Attitudes Test, the Beck Depression Inventory and the Eating Disorder Belief Questionnaire. RESULTS: Overweight female adolescents reported more negative self-beliefs and greater belief in schema relating to emotional deprivation, fears of abandonment, subjugation and insufficient self-control. They also perceived their fathers as being significantly more overprotective and significantly less caring. Within this group perceived level of maternal care correlated negatively with negative self-beliefs and schema. CONCLUSIONS: Overweight female adolescents show some of the cognitive features associated with the development of an eating disorder. However, positive parent-child relationships may serve to protect overweight adolescents from developing clinical eating disorders and from psychological distress later in life.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Obes (Lond)

Publication Date





381 - 387


Adolescent, Case-Control Studies, Cross-Sectional Studies, Family, Feeding and Eating Disorders, Female, Humans, Maternal Behavior, Obesity, Parent-Child Relations, Paternal Behavior, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Self Concept