Weight and eating concerns among pre- and young adolescent boys and girls

Maryse H. Richards, Regina C. Casper, Reed Larson

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The emergence of weight and eating concerns in pre- and young adolescents and the relations of these concerns to daily experience and psychologic adjustment were investigated. Four hundred eighty-one children from fifth to ninth grades completed a Weight and Eating Concerns Scale, a depression inventory, self-esteem and body image scales, and reported their daily experiences by the Experience Sampling Method. Girls tended to report more weight and eating concerns than boys. This discrepancy increased with age. In older girls (eighth and ninth graders) extreme weight and eating concerns were associated with other signs of emotional maladjustment. Girls who experience emotional distress may try to compensate for the strain by controlling body shape and in doing so, may place themselves at risk for developing an eating disorder. Boys currently appear to be protected from this difficulty. Our findings suggest that excessive weight and eating concerns in young adolescent girls signal psychologic maladjustment which may require attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-209
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1990


  • Eating disorders Anorexia Bulimia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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