Anti-fat attitudes and dietary restraint within mother-daughter dyads: an Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM) analysis



This study examined the association between anti-fat attitudes (fear of fat, dislike of fat, willpower) and dietary restraint within the mother–daughter relationship.


Mother–adolescent daughter dyads (Npairs = 100) were recruited from a Midwestern community to participate in a study together. They completed self-report measures of anti-fat attitudes and eating behavior. Data were analyzed with an Actor–Partner Interdependence Model (APIM).


Significant actor effects for mothers include fear of fat (b = 0.270, B = 0.319, p < 0.05) and willpower (b = 0.228, B = 0.280, p < 0.05) predicting her own dietary restraint. For daughters, fear of fat (b = 0.554, B = 0.612, p < 0.05) and dislike (b = 0.202, B = 0.214, p < 0.05) predict her own dietary restraint. Regarding partner effects, mothers’ fear of fat was related to daughters’ dietary restraint (b = 0.126, B = 0.138, p < 0.05), and daughters’ dislike was related to mothers’ restraint (b = 0.257, B = 0.294, p < 0.05). Regarding dyad-level interaction effects, mother and daughter fear of fat interacted to predict daughter dietary restraint (b = 0.184, B = 0.201, p < 0.05), such that when both mother and daughter fear of fat is high, daughters appear to engage in more dietary restraint.


Given the role of mothers’ fear of fat in daughter eating behavior, parent-focused or parent-involved interventions may improve family culture around weight and eating, contributing to better adolescent outcomes.

Level of evidence

V, cross-sectional descriptive study.

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This study was funded by the Faculty Research Fellowship grant supported by Eastern Michigan University.

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Correspondence to Ellen Hart.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of Eastern Michigan University Human Subjects Review Committee.

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Informed consent was obtained from mothers for themselves and their adolescent daughters; daughters under 18 provided assent to participate.

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Hart, E., Tan, C.C. & Chow, C.M. Anti-fat attitudes and dietary restraint within mother-daughter dyads: an Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM) analysis. Eat Weight Disord (2020).

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  • Anti-fat attitudes
  • Dislike
  • Fear of fat
  • Willpower
  • Dietary restraint
  • Parent–child
  • Adolescence