Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 35, Issue 5, pp 500–508 | Cite as

Associations between hurtful weight-related comments by family and significant other and the development of disordered eating behaviors in young adults

  • Marla E. EisenbergEmail author
  • Jerica M. Berge
  • Jayne A. Fulkerson
  • Dianne Neumark-Sztainer


Research has found that weight-teasing is associated with disordered eating in adolescents. This study expands on the existing research by examining associations between hurtful weight comments by family and a significant other and disordered eating in young adults. Data come from 1,902 young adults (mean age 25) who completed surveys in 1998, 2003 and 2009. Correlations were examined between receiving hurtful comments from family and significant others, and four disordered eating behaviors in young adulthood, adjusting for prior disordered eating and prior teasing. Disordered eating behaviors were common in young adulthood, and were associated with hearing hurtful weight-related comments from family members and a significant other, for both females and males. Disordered eating prevention activities, which include messages about the potential harm associated with hurtful weight-related comments, should be expanded to address young adults, and programs may want to target relationship partners.


Young adults Disordered eating Teasing Weight comments 



The project described was supported by Grant Number R01HL084064 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute or the National Institutes of Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marla E. Eisenberg
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jerica M. Berge
    • 3
  • Jayne A. Fulkerson
    • 4
  • Dianne Neumark-Sztainer
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Adolescent Health and Medicine, Department of PediatricsUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Division of Epidemiology & Community Health, School of Public HealthUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.Department of Family Medicine and Community HealthUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  4. 4.School of NursingUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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