The co-relation of eating behavior and body image formation in children and adolescents in the context of child-parent relationships



The review presents foreign works aimed at studying the effects of parental and societal behavior on eating behavior and attitudes towards their bodies in children and adolescents. The reviewed articles analyze attitudes towards the bodies and internalized appearance patterns in children and adolescents, formation of their patterns of healthy eating and healthy eating behavior, and do not focus on eating disorders only. It must be noted that in Russia the issue of healthy eating behavior is touched upon mainly in publications concerning the medical aspect of this problem, while in foreign psychological studies it is becoming increasingly popular. The analysis of the publications also shows that the problem of eating behavior and attitude to the body, traditionally related to adolescence, is clearly "rejuvenated". Children aged 6-7 are gradually becoming the target group of researchers, so the problem deserves serious attention.

General Information

Keywords: body image, eating behavior, parental control, family communication, child-parent relationships

Journal rubric: Developmental Psychology

Article type: review article


For citation: Pavlova N.V., Filippova E.V. The co-relation of eating behavior and body image formation in children and adolescents in the context of child-parent relationships [Elektronnyi resurs]. Sovremennaia zarubezhnaia psikhologiia = Journal of Modern Foreign Psychology, 2020. Vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 32–44. DOI: 10.17759/jmfp.2020090403. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


  1. Aleksandrova R.V., Meshkova T.A. Osobennosti vnutrisemeinykh otnoshenii devochek-podrostkov s riskom narusheniya pishchevogo povedeniya [The Features of Family Relations of Adolescent Girls at Risk of Eating Disorders]. Klinicheskaya i spetsial'naya psikhologiya [Clinical Psychology and Special Education], 2016. Vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 33–45. DOI:10.17759/cpse.2016050203 (In Russ.).
  2. Durneva M.Yu., Meshkova T.A. Vliyanie sotsiokul'turnykh standartov privlekatel'nosti na formirovanie otnosheniya k telu i pishchevogo povedeniya u devushek podrostkovogo i yunosheskogo vozrasta [The influence of socio-cultural standards of attractiveness on the formation of attitudes towards the body and eating behavior among adolescent and youthful girls] [Elektronnyi resurs]. Psikhologicheskaya nauka i obrazovanie [Psychological science and education], 2013. Vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 25–34. URL: (Accessed 11.12.2020). (In Russ.).
  3. Ivanov D.V., Khokhrina A.A. Obraz tela u podrostkov s narusheniem pishchevogo povedeniya [Body image among adolescents with eating disorders] [Elektronnyi resurs]. Vestnik GUU [GUU Bulletin], 2019. Vol. 6, pp. 198–204. URL: (Accessed 11.12.2020). (In Russ.).
  4. Kamenetskaya E.V., Rebeko T.A. Reprezentatsiya telesnogo Ya pri narushenii pishchevogo povedeniya [Representation of physical self and protection of ego in women with eating disorders]. Eksperimental'naya psikhologiya [Experimental Psychology (Russia)], 2015. Vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 118–128. DOI:10.17759/exppsy.2015080311 (In Russ.).
  5. Nikolaeva N.O. Istoriya i sovremennoe sostoyanie issledovanii narusheniya pishchevogo povedeniya (kul'turnye i psikhologicheskie aspekty) [History and Contemporary Investigations of Eating Disorders (Cultural and Psychological Aspects)] [Elektronnyi resurs]. Klinicheskaya i spetsial'naya psikhologiya [Clinical Psychology and Special Education], 2012. Vol. 1, no. 1, 17 p. URL: (Accessed 11.12.2020). (In Russ.).
  6. Berge J.M. et al. A qualitative analysis of parents’ perceptions of weight talk and weight teasing in the home environments of diverse low-income children. Body Image, 2015. Vol. 15, pp. 8–15. DOI:10.1016/j.bodyim.2015.04.006
  7. Arroyo A., Segrin C., Andersen K.K. Intergenerational transmission of disordered eating: Direct and indirect maternal communication among grandmothers, mothers, and daughters. Body Image, 2017. Vol. 20, pp. 107–115. DOI:10.1016/j.bodyim.2017.01.001
  8. Bergmeier H., Skouteris H., Hetherington M. Systematic research review of observational approaches used to evaluate mother-child mealtime interactions during preschool years. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2015. Vol. 101, no. 1, pp. 7–15. DOI:10.3945/ajcn.114.092114
  9. DeCosta P. et al. Changing children's eating behaviour - A review of experimental research. Appetite, 2017. Vol. 113, pp. 327–357. DOI:10.1016/j.appet.2017.03.004
  10. Coffman D.L., Balantekin K.N., Savage J.S. Using Propensity Score Methods To Assess Causal Effects of Moth- ers’ Dieting Behavior on Daughters’ Early Dieting Behavior. Childhood Obesity, 2016. Vol. 12, no. 5, pp. 334–40. DOI:10.1089/chi.2015.0249
  11. Courtney B.R., Webb J.B., Jafari N. A systematic review of the roles of body image flexibility as correlate, moderator, mediator, and in intervention science. Body Image, 2018. Vol. 27, pp. 43–60. DOI:10.1016/j.bodyim.2018.08.003
  12. Ling F. et al. Do children emotionally rehearse about their body image? Journal of Health Psychology, 2015. Vol. 20, no. 9, pp. 1133–1141. DOI:10.1177/1359105313507965
  13. Berge J.M. et al. Do parents or siblings engage in more negative weight-based talk with children and what does it sound like? A mixed-methods study. Body Image, 2016. Vol. 18, pp. 27–33. DOI:10.1016/j.bodyim.2016.04.008
  14. Saltzman J.A. et al. Eating, feeding, and feeling: emotional responsiveness mediates longitudinal associations be- tween maternal binge eating, feeding practices, and child weight. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 2016. Vol. 13, 14 p. DOI:10.1186/s12966-016-0415-5
  15. Bauer A. et al. Familial transmission of a body- related attentional bias – An eye-tracking study in a nonclinical sample of female adolescents and their mothers. PLoS ONE, 2017. Vol. 12, no. 11, 16 p. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0188186
  16. Sleddens E.F. et al. Food parenting practices and child dietary behavior. Prospective relations and the moderating role of general parenting. Appetite, 2014. Vol. 79, pp. 42–50. DOI:10.1016/j.appet.2014.04.004
  17. Loth K.A. et al. Food-related parenting practices and adolescent weight status: a population-based study. Pediatrics, 2013. Vol. 131, no. 5, pp. 1443–1450. DOI:10.1542/peds.2012-3073
  18. Garbett K., Diedrichs P.C. Improving uptake and engagement with child body image interventions delivered to mothers: Understanding mother and daughter preferences for intervention content. Body Image, 2016. Vol. 19, pp. 24–27. DOI:10.1016/j.bodyim.2016.07.004
  19. Hillard E.E. et al. In it together: Mother talk of weight concerns moderates negative outcomes of encouragement to lose weight on daughter body dissatisfaction and disordered eating. Body Image, 2016. Vol. 16, pp. 21–27. DOI:10.1016/j.bodyim.2015.09.004
  20. Melo M.K. et al. Influence of parents' behavior during the meal and on overweight in childhood. Escola Anna Nery, 2017. Vol. 21, no. 4. 6 p. DOI:10.1590/2177-9465-EAN-2017-0102
  21. Jellmayer K., Piano A., Alvarenga G.M. Influence of behavior and maternal perception on their children’s eating and nutritional status. O Mundo da Saúde, São Paulo, 2017. Vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 180–193. DOI:10.15343/0104-7809.20174102180193
  22. Jongenelis M.I., Byrne S.M., Pettigrew S. Self-objectification, body image disturbance, and eating disorder symptoms in young Australian children. Body Image, 2014. Vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 290–302. DOI:10.1016/j.bodyim.2014.04.002
  23. Lydecker J., Grilo C. Children of parents with BED have more eating behavior disturbance than children of parents with obesity or healthy weight. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 2017. Vol. 50, no. 6, pp. 648–656. DOI:10.1002/eat.22648
  24. McLaughlin E.A. et al. Mothers’ and daughters’ beliefs about factors affecting preadolescent girls’ body satisfaction. Body Image, 2015. Vol. 13, pp. 9–17. DOI:10.1016/j.bodyim.2014.11.002
  25. Thogersen-Ntoumani C. et al. ‘Mum’s the word’: Predictors and outcomes of weight concerns in pre-adolescent and early adolescent girls. Body Image, 2016. Vol. 16, pp. 107–112. DOI:10.1016/j.bodyim.2015.12.004
  26. Rogers B. et al. “No seconds for you!”: Exploring a sociocultural model of fat-talking in the presence of family involving restrictive/critical caregiver eating messages, relational body image, and anti-fat attitudes in college women. Body Image, 2019. Vol. 30, pp. 56–63. DOI:10.1016/j.bodyim.2019.05.004
  27. Hochdorn A. et al. Obese children are thin in parents’ eyes: A psychologically, socially, or culturally driven bias? Journal of Health Psychology, 2018. Vol. 23, no. 1. 13 p. DOI:10.1177/1359105316676328
  28. Grenon R. et al. Parental bonds and body dissatisfaction in a clinical sample: The mediating roles of attachment anxiety and media internalization. Body Image, 2016. Vol. 19, pp. 49–56. DOI:10.1016/j.bodyim.2016.08.005
  29. Balantekin K.N. et al. Parental encouragement of dieting promotes daughters’ early di- eting. Appetite, 2014. Vol. 80, pp. 190–196. DOI:10.1016/j.appet.2014.05.016
  30. Nichols T.E. et al. Paxton Psychological predictors of body image attitudes and concerns in young children. Body Image, 2018. Vol. 27, pp. 10–20. DOI:10.1016/j.bodyim.2018.08.005
  31. Liechty J. et al. Perceptions of early body image socialization in families: Exploring knowledge, beliefs, and strategies among mothers of preschoolers. Body Image, 2016. Vol. 19, pp. 68–78. DOI:10.1016/j.bodyim.2016.08.010
  32. Schuck K., Munsch S., Schneider S. Body image perceptions and symptoms of disturbed eating behavior among children and adolescents in Germany. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 2018. Vol. 12, 11 p. DOI:10.1186/s13034-018-0216-5
  33. MacDonald D.E. et al. The Family Fat Talk Questionnaire: Development and psychometric properties of a measure of fat talk behaviors within the family context. Body Image, 2015. Vol. 12, pp. 44–52. DOI:10.1016/j.bodyim.2014.10.001
  34. Yamazaki Y., Omori M. The relationship between mothers’ thin-ideal and children’s drive for thinness: A survey of Japanese early adolescents and their mothers. Journal of Health Psychology, 2016. Vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 100–111. DOI:10.1177/1359105314522676
  35. Yee A., Lwin M., Ho S. The influence of parental practices on child promotive and preventive food consumption behaviors: a systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 2017. Vol. 14, 14 p. DOI:10.1186/s12966-017-0501-3

Information About the Authors

Natalia V. Pavlova, MA in Psychology, psychologist, ANO «Center for the Development and Socialization of Children and Adults with Developmental Disabilities “The Communication Space”», Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Elena V. Filippova, PhD in Psychology, Professor, the head of the Child and family psychotherapy chair, Psychologicalcounseling faculty, Senior researcher, scientific secretary of the Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, employee of the Psychological Consultation of the Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, member of the editorial board of the journal “Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy”, member of the editorial board of the journal “Psychological Science and Education”., Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



Total: 1363
Previous month: 40
Current month: 15


Total: 1490
Previous month: 38
Current month: 10