College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 11-24-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Jocelyn Carter, PhD

Second Advisor

Kathryn Grant, PhD


Obesity affects both adolescents and adults worldwide (Popkin & Doak, 1998). Determining which factors contribute to risk factors to the high prevalence of obesity in America is important because excess weight can negatively affect both physical health and psychosocial functioning (Kolotkin, Meter, & Williams, 2001). Few longitudinal studies have assessed the association between parenting styles and adolescent’s body mass index (BMI; Rhee et al, 2006). Past research has shown that parents greatly influence adolescent’s body image (Al Sabbah et al., 2009). Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, the current study examined the influence of parenting styles on adolescent’s weight over time (Harris et al., 2009). Additionally, we tested a mediation model on the relationship between parenting style and adolescent’s BMI through weight perception. The final aim of this study was to determine whether weight perception differed by gender. The current study failed to find an association between parenting styles and adolescent’s weight gain over time and between weight perception and weight gain over time. The current study did find a difference in weight perception by gender. Girls were more likely to perceive themselves as heavier and boys were more likely to perceive themselves as lighter. Future studies should be developed to gain a better understanding of the developmental trajectory of adolescent obesity and the effects of parenting styles. Additionally, more research is needed to better understand the differences in body image by gender.

SLP Collection


Included in

Psychology Commons