Intergenerational transmission of disordered eating: Direct and indirect maternal communication among grandmothers, mothers, and daughters

Analisa Arroyo, Chris G Segrin, Kristin K. Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


The current study explored disordered eating (i.e., dieting, bulimia and food preoccupation, and oral control) among grandmothers, their daughters, and their granddaughters, and also explored specific direct (i.e., maternal commentary) and indirect (i.e., maternal modeling) communication behaviors as mechanisms by which disordered eating is intergenerationally transmitted. A sample of 242 grandmother–mother–daughter triads provided self-reports of their own disordered eating and perceptions of their mothers’ weight-related behaviors. Results revealed that only mothers’ and daughters’ reports of disordered eating were related, but not grandmothers’ and mothers’ nor grandmothers’ and daughters’. However, a number of indirect effects were observed through maternal commentary and maternal modeling, including an indirect effect of grandmothers’ reports of maternal communication on their granddaughters’ disordered eating. Data from three generations of women illustrate the intergenerational transmission of disordered eating within families, specific communication variables that may propagate this relationship, and possible cohort and age effects within the sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-115
Number of pages9
JournalBody Image
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017



  • Communication
  • Daughter
  • Disordered eating
  • Grandmother
  • Mother

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychology(all)

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