The family influence on obesity and self-esteem and how obesity and self-esteem influences the family interactions later in life

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Flittner, Allison
Major Professor
Brenda J. Lohman
Committee Member
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Human Development and Family Studies

The Department of Human Development and Family Studies focuses on the interactions among individuals, families, and their resources and environments throughout their lifespans. It consists of three majors: Child, Adult, and Family Services (preparing students to work for agencies serving children, youth, adults, and families); Family Finance, Housing, and Policy (preparing students for work as financial counselors, insurance agents, loan-officers, lobbyists, policy experts, etc); and Early Childhood Education (preparing students to teach and work with young children and their families).


The Department of Human Development and Family Studies was formed in 1991 from the merger of the Department of Family Environment and the Department of Child Development.

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  • College of Human Sciences (parent college)
  • Department of Child Development (predecessor)
  • Department of Family Environment (predecessor)

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Currently there is little research on the effects of obesity and self-esteem on family functioning over time, or more specifically, across two generations. The purpose of this dissertation was to examine the connections between supportive parenting, self-esteem, and obesity over time. This dissertation includes two related studies that both utilize a Family Systems Theory to guide the research. Utilizing the Family Transitions Project (FTP), a longitudinal study that examines adolescents and their families over 23 years, this study extends the current literature by examining how maternal supportive parenting during early adolescence influences obesity in late adolescence and ultimately how both of these influence the individual's parent-child relationships with their own children in adulthood. This study also considers the possible effects of self-esteem on the aforementioned relationships. Chapter 2 examined the influence of maternal supportive parenting in early adolescence on the development of self-esteem in middle adolescence and obesity in late adolescence. Chapter 2 also looked at the mediating role of self-esteem on the relationship between supportive parenting and obesity. Chapter 3 continued to build on this foundation and added in the effects of maternal supportive parenting (G1) in early adolescence, G2 self-esteem in middle adolescence, and G2 obesity in late adolescence on G2 supportive parenting expressed towards their own child in adulthood.

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Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2012