Do Maternal Psychosocial Factors Predict Adolescent Weight? Sandra Jody MarksDepartment of Exercise Sciences, BYUMaster of SciencePurpose: This study investigated the possible relationship between maternal psychosocial factors, mainly maternal stress and maternal depression, and adolescent weight status. Also, this study examined the predictive effect of these maternal psychosocial factors on adolescent weight loss during a health education intervention as well as the months following the health education. Methods: Study design was a longitudinal pretest posttest with a health education intervention. We assessed 40 adolescents and their mothers on four occasions over a 1-year period. At each occasion, the Stress Index for Parents of Adolescents (SIPA) was used to measure maternal stress and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) was used to measure maternal depression. Also, at the four occasions, adolescent anthropometric data were obtained by research assistants using a digital scale for weight and a portable stadiometer for measuring height. Body Mass Index scores (BMI = [weight (kg)]/[height (m)]2) were calculated and converted into a percentile score (zBMI), adjusting for age and gender, using the standard Center for Disease Control and Prevention calculator. At the onset of the study, the adolescent participants and their mothers all received 12 weeks of health education, which included group behavioral therapy, family-based intervention, motivational interviewing and electronic intervention. Results: Hierarchical regression analysis revealed that no significant relationships existed between maternal stress and adolescent zBMI or between maternal depression and adolescent zBMI at baseline (Time 1). Nor did the study find that maternal stress and/or depression scores at Time 1 significantly predicted a greater amount of adolescent weight loss. Lower stress and/or depression also did not significantly predict adolescent weight maintenance after the 12-week intervention (Time 2). However, results did indicate that the adolescent component of the maternal stress domain (AD) from Time 1 to Time 2 was a significant predictor of adolescent zBMI from Time 1 to Time 2, (R2 = 0.238, F (1,21) = 6.571, p = 0.018). This means that 23.8% of the variability in overall zBMI change from Time 1 to Time 2 is being accounted for by change in the maternal AD stress domain from Time 1 to Time 2. Conclusion: Adolescent zBMI decreased concurrently with maternal stress during the health education intervention stage. Although the correlational nature of this study prevents causal claims, this result suggests that decreasing maternal stress may strengthen the ability of obese adolescents to effectively lose weight. This study encourages further research to examine the effects that maternal psychosocial factors may have on adolescent weight status, weight loss, and weight maintenance.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Exercise Sciences



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maternal stress, maternal depression, adolescent weight, adolescent zBMI



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Life Sciences Commons