Date Awarded

Summer 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




Janice L Zeman

Committee Member

Elizabeth B Raposa

Committee Member

Meghan S Miller


Eating disorders and disordered eating affect about half a million teenagers in the United States. Restrained eating is a type of disordered eating behavior where individuals limit their food intake to avoid weight gain, maintain their current weight, or lose weight. Although researchers have examined numerous predictors of this eating style, there are gaps in the literature related to the role of emotion socialization on restrained eating. Parents and peers continually interact with adolescents; as such, both groups often witness adolescents’ emotion expressivity behaviors. They can respond supportively or unsupportively and these responses contribute to adolescents’ emotion regulation strategies. The current study examined parents’ and friends’ supportive and unsupportive emotion socialization behaviors as correlates of adolescents’ restrained eating directly and indirectly through emotion regulation strategies (i.e., inhibition, dysregulation, regulation cope). Since gender differences are typical in how emotions are socialized and in restrained eating behaviors, the role of gender was examined. Data were collected from 91 youth (Mage = 16.50 years; 56.0% female; 76.9% Caucasian) and their parents (Mage = 49.30 years; 91.2% mothers). Youth responded to the You and Your Friends Questionnaire which assessed best friends’ emotion socialization, the Children’s Emotion Management Scales, which assessed adolescents’ emotion regulation behaviors, and the Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire, which assessed adolescents’ restrained eating. Parents completed the Emotions as a Child Questionnaire, which asked about parents’ emotion socialization. Conditional process analyses and parallel mediations were conducted to examine the direct and indirect effects of emotion socialization on restrained eating through emotion regulation and as a function of gender. Results indicated that emotion inhibition mediated the effects of friend supportive and passive unsupportive responses on restrained eating. Additionally, friend passive unsupportive responses predicted higher levels of restrained eating in girls and lower levels of restrained eating in boys. Lastly, parent and friend active unsupportive responses predicted restrained eating in girls, but in different directions. Parents’ active unsupportive responses predicted lower levels of restrained eating in girls, whereas friends’ active unsupportive response predicted higher levels of restrained eating in girls. These findings demonstrate that during adolescence individuals, especially friends, influence adolescents’ restrained eating behaviors. Further, girls may be at greater risk of restrained eating compared to adolescent boys.



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