Different family interactions related to body weight and shape may co-occur and represent a broader ‘family body culture’. This may be important in the context of COVID-19 due to a heightened focus on body weight/shape, and many young adults living back with their families. This study aimed to, first, explore relationships between different family body-related interactions to assess the presence of a family body culture, and second, explore relationships between aspects of family body culture, disordered eating and mental health among young adult females during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants were 233 females aged 18-25 years who completed measures of family body culture (family fat talk; family weight concern; family weight teasing), disordered eating, anxiety and depression. Results showed all aspects of family body culture were significantly, positively related. Engaging in fat talk with family members (self fat talk) was a key correlate of disordered eating, anxiety and depression. Family concern with weight was also significantly associated with disordered eating. Findings suggest that among some families there is a more problematic family body culture with a greater importance placed on body weight and shape through various body-related interactions. Additionally, findings highlight two key aspects of family body culture related to disordered eating and wellbeing among young adult females. Specifically, vocalising critical remarks about one’s own body when with family and an environment that may indirectly communicate a high importance of body weight and shape (e.g., via dieting). These should be considered in future family interventions to support healthy eating behaviours.
White, H., Sharpe, H. & Plateau, C. 2023, 'Family body culture, disordered eating and mental health among young adult females during COVID-19', Eating Behaviors, 51, article no: 101792. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eatbeh.2023.101792