ORIGINAL PAPER
The impact of appearance comments by parents, peers and romantic partners on eating behaviour in a sample of young women
 
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Department of Psychology, Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania
Submission date: 2021-06-17
Final revision date: 2021-10-17
Acceptance date: 2021-10-27
Online publication date: 2021-12-06
Publication date: 2021-12-06
 
Health Psychology Report 2022;10(2):93–102
 
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Background:
Disordered eating behaviour (DEB) is prevalent among two-thirds of women, and it is argued that it will increase over time because of the lean body cult in Western culture. However, the mechanism of DEB development is still not known precisely. One of the recently explored factors is appearance comments by significant others; however, their influence on DEB is am-biguous. The aim of this study is to investigate the relationship between eating behaviour and appearance comments by parents, peers, and romantic partners in a sample of young Lithuanian women.

Participants and procedure:
Two hundred and eighty-five young females (Mage = 21.8, SD = 2.14) completed an online survey consisting of the Verbal Commentary on Physical Appearance Scale (VCOPAS) and the Eating Attitudes Test-26 (EAT-26). Demographic infor-mation and body mass index (BMI) were also taken into account.

Results:
Negative comments about body shape and weight by parents, peers and romantic partners were associated with greater young women’s dieting and bulimia-specific DEB, while this type of appearance comments only by mothers and female peers was related to greater oral control. It was found that positive comments about body shape and weight by female peers were related to lower young women’s dieting, while positive comments about general appearance by mothers were associated with lower oral control. However, positive comments about body shape and weight by mothers and male peers were related to higher young women’s oral control.

Conclusions:
Both negative and positive comments about physical appearance by significant others may be a risk factor for DEB develop-ing in young women. Further research should concentrate on a deeper examination of these relations, with a particular focus on positive comments about physical appearance.

 
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