All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Lynda Wilson

Advisory Committee Members

Janice Gilliland

Sylvie Mrug

Karen Saenz

David Vance

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Nursing


PARENTING BEHAVIORS AND EARLY ADOLESCENT OBESITY KATHY NEWMAN SCHOOL OF NURSING ABSTRACT The incidence of adolescent obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years with the rate increasing from 5% to 17%. Approximately 17.0% of adolescents in the United States are obese with 4% being categorized as morbidly obese. Obesity disproportionately affects minority adolescent groups. Previous studies have examined relationships between parental behaviors and adolescent health risk behaviors, but few studies have compared these relationships across different racial/ethnic groups. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between parental nurturance, parental involvement, family cohesion, and early adolescent morbid obesity among non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, and Hispanic adolescents in the country. This study was a cross-sectional study that utilized data from the Healthy Passages Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Institutional Review Board approval was obtained. The sample included 2,404 adolescents (50% female, 50% male, mean age = 11.10 years) and their parent. Thirty one percent of the adolescents were non-Hispanic White, 32.5% were non-Hispanic Black, and 36.5% were Hispanic. The instruments used were the Parental Nurturance Scale, Parental Involvement Scale, and Family Cohesion Scale. Statistical analyses included descriptive analyses, correlational analyses, t-tests, logistic regression, and ANCOVA. Parental involvement, parental nurturance, and family cohesion were not significant predictors of early adolescent morbid obesity. Logistic regression analysis indicated that parent BMI, parent age, and adolescent gender were predictors of early adolescent morbid obesity. Adolescent males were more likely to be morbidly obese. ANCOVA analyses indicated significant differences in parental behaviors and adolescent body mass index among non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, and Hispanic groups. Findings from this study support the need to be cognizant of racial/ethnic differences in adolescent obesity. Nurses are in a position to screen for parenting and family factors that may be more prevalent in particular groups. Such knowledge can help guide development of culturally appropriate and sensitive interventions.

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