The Effects of Body Weight Discrepancy and Positive Mother-Child Relationships on Adolescent Peer Relations




Revere, Ashlyn

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The current study utilized the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD) data set to examine if positive mother-child relationships buffer the negative association between preadolescent body weight discrepancy and negative peer relationships. The NICHD SECCYD is a longitudinal investigation of 1,364 children, followed from birth to age 15, and their families and schools (N=1,364). For the current study, we focus on data collected from children, their mothers, and their teachers in 6th grade (n = 1,061; M age= 11.95, SD= 0.34). The sample demographics consist of 51.7 % male, 80.4% White, 12.9% African American, 1.6% Asian, 0.4% American Indian, and 4.7% other. Over half (54.2 %) of mothers reported having pursued some college. The current study measured the children’s relationship with their mother using the Child-Parent Relationship Scale (Pianta, 1992), children’s body weight discrepancy was measured with the Child’s Eating Habits and Body Self Image questionnaire (Harter, 1998), and child-peer relationships were assessed with the Peer Network Characteristics questionnaire (Olivieri & Reiss, 1987). Correlations were run to examine potential covariates related to the study variables. These analyses revealed significant relations between child sex, maternal education, socioeconomic status (free/reduced lunch), and pubertal status. To test the hypothesized relations, a step-wise linear regression analysis was run in which the control variables were entered into the first step, body weight discrepancy and positive mother-child relationship were entered into the second step, and finally an interaction term between body weight discrepancy and mother-child relationship was entered into the third step as predictors of peer relationship quality. The moderation hypothesis was not supported. These data support the notion that there was an association between body weight discrepancy, peer relations, and positive mother-child relations. The specific relations between these variables and implications of the current study were discussed.



child body image, peer relationships, mother-child relationships, Honors College


Revere, A. (2022). The effects of body weight discrepancy and positive mother-child relationships on adolescent peer relations (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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