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Eat Weight Disord. 2012 Jun;17(2):e116-27.

Body dissatisfaction among pre-adolescent girls is predicted by their involvement in aesthetic sports and by personal characteristics of their mothers.

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Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, Via dei Marsi, 00185 Roma, Italy.


Empirical evidence indicates that the dissatisfaction with one's body is widely present in the general population even at very early ages, and that it is predictive of future eating disorders. The family seem particularly influent for the development of body dissatisfaction while sports practice is associated to a higher prevalence of disordered eating. However the role of sports practice in the development of body dissatisfaction is still under debate and only few studies have evaluated together the influences of family and sport practice on body dissatisfaction. The present study aimed at evaluating both the singular and conjoint role of the type of sport and maternal influences in young female children. The sport influence was assessed comparing aesthetic and non-aesthetic disciplines; the mother's influence was evaluated considering her personal characteristics and her desire to have a thinner child. Results evidence that children involved in aesthetic sports, although thinner than those involved in non-aesthetic sports, report higher desire to be much thinner and have mothers who pressure them toward a greater thinness. Furthermore, children's body dissatisfaction in the sport groups is predicted by maternal characteristic like her habit to restrict her own eating and her perfectionism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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