The Contribution of Familial Characteristics and Idolization to Children’s Body and Eating Attitudes

Miri Scharf, Miri Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Elementary school children already show signs of problematic attitudes toward their body and disturbed eating attitudes. This study examined the contribution of familial and social variables to children’s eating behaviors and attitudes and body image. 225 third and fourth graders completed questionnaires regarding eating behaviors and attitudes, body image, parenting practices, security in the family, and idol worship. Homeroom teachers reported on children’s adjustment. Children with insecure patterns in the family and those reporting high levels of parental psychological control and high levels of idol worship were found to exhibit more problematic eating behaviors and attitudes, and displayed a lower body image than their counterparts. Parental support was negatively related to eating attitudes and idolization was positively associated with eating attitudes only among girls. The findings highlight the importance of early screening of at-risk groups. By identifying children’s specific vulnerabilities, therapists and educators can consider different foci in intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1943-1954
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number7
StatePublished - 8 Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Attachment
  • Body dissatisfaction
  • Eating attitudes
  • Idolization
  • Middle childhood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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