Weight status as a mediator of the association between preschool extraversion and adolescent restrained eating

Maren Hankey, Katherine M. Kidwell, Jennifer Mize Nelson, Kimberly Andrews Espy, Timothy D. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Objectives To determine the longitudinal association between preschool extraversion and weight/ dieting outcomes in adolescence. Methods Children (N = 180) were recruited as part of a longitudinal study, with child temperament assessed in preschool (age 5.25 years), weight assessed in 2nd grade and early adolescence, and eating outcomes assessed in early adolescence (mean age =12.02 years). Results Preschoolers high in extraversion were significantly more likely to have higher body mass index z-scores (zBMI) and more restrained eating behaviors in adolescence. zBMI was found to mediate the relationship between extraversion and restrained eating, such that children with high levels of extraversion were more likely to have higher zBMI in adolescence and, owing to this higher weight status, to engage in more restrained eating. Conclusions Temperament is an important predictor of later maladaptive weight/dieting outcomes in adolescence, making it a potentially important early factor to consider in weight management interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)882-891
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pediatric Psychology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017



  • Adolescents
  • Children
  • Longitudinal research
  • Weight management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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