Understanding Adolescent Weight: The Role of Parenting Styles and Emotion Regulation

Amy S. Hansen

Advisor: Tara Chaplin, PhD, Department of Psychology

Committee Members: Robyn Mehlenbeck, Christianne Esposito-Smythers

Psychological Clinic, Suite 301
May 13, 2019, 09:00 AM to 11:00 AM



Obesity rates among adolescents have increased significantly in the past decade, and while strong intervention efforts are evident, obesity rates are not slowing down. Notably, parenting styles are thought to be important in the development of adolescent obesity; however, these findings are highly mixed due to several critical limitations. Further, literature investigating possible mechanisms to help explain howparenting styles are associated with adolescent weight is limited. This dissertation presents two studies that investigate parenting styles and adolescent weight. Study one examined how negative and positive parenting styles predict adolescent weight over three years from early to middle adolescence. Results revealed that high levels of negative parenting predict initially high adolescent BMI for age percentiles in early adolescence, and that these high BMI scores remain stable across three years. Additionally, low levels of negative parenting styles predicted initially lower adolescent BMI for age percentiles, and these BMI scores grew significantly across three years. Study two longitudinally examined parenting styles’ associations with adolescent BMI through adolescents’ difficulties in emotion regulation. Unexpectedly, emotion regulation did not mediate the association between parenting styles and adolescent BMI over time.