Laura Edwards-Leeper

Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, United States

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Publications (4)9.17 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The current study determined what preschool children understand about dieting and the extent to which they report engaging in dieting behaviors. Forty-two children (mean age = 5.2 years) were interviewed about their understanding of the word "diet" and about food restraint behaviors. Children's height and weight were recorded. Only 17% of the children provided an accurate definition of the word diet (i.e., an answer having to do with the foods a person eats). None of the children mentioned weight loss in their definition. Children reported occasional use of restraint behaviors. Girls and heavier children reported more use of restraint. Children did not have a clear understanding of the word diet. Thus, the use of the word diet should be avoided when assessing eating behaviors in preschool children. Individual differences in reported dieting behaviors were in the expected directions, suggesting validity in these reports and early emerging social pressures to diet.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2005 · International Journal of Eating Disorders
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    ABSTRACT: The current study assessed preschool-age children's control attributions for weight and the relationship of these attributions to attitudes and behavioral intentions toward children of different body sizes. Forty-two children (mean age = 5.2 years) were interviewed about the adjectives they attributed to figures of different sizes, their preference for size in playmates, and their beliefs about children's ability to control their own weight. Adjective ratings for obese figures were the most negative, with no differences found for thin and average figures; the heaviest figure was also chosen less often than other figures to be a playmate. Internal attributions of control for weight were related to less positive adjective ratings for the heavier figure but not to children's friendship selections. Results suggest that the relationship between body size stigmatization and control attributions are consistent with attribution theory for young children. Practical implications of these results and possible interventions are discussed.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2005 · Journal of Pediatric Psychology
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    ABSTRACT: Examined associations with witnessing and being victimized by "low-level" aggressive acts (e.g., pushing, gossip) and three indicators of psychosocial functioning in a sample of 771 elementary school students from one urban and one suburban school district. Results indicated that exposure to low-level aggression appears to relate to psychosocial functioning in ways similar to more severe forms of aggression. Students who were exposed to higher levels of both witnessing and victimization by low-level aggression reported the highest levels of engagement in aggression, the lowest levels of positive expectations for the future, and the lowest levels of perceived safety. Findings are discussed in the context of research on exposure to aggression in general, with suggestions offered for future studies. Implications of the findings for school-based intervention programs are raised.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2004 · Violence and Victims
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    ABSTRACT: Similarities and differences in perceptions of ideal, aversive, and acceptable body shapes were investigated for both preschool children and their mothers. Also, the relationship of these attitudes to mothers' ideas about feeding their children was examined. Figure array ratings were obtained from 42 preschool children and 28 of their mothers for current, ideal, aversive, and acceptable body shapes. Mothers also completed the Child Feeding Questionnaire “Restriction” and “Pressure to eat” subscales. Children had a less restricted view of acceptable body shapes than did their mothers. Mothers who found fewer body shapes acceptable for their child reported using more restrictive feeding practices with their children. Although there is evidence that attitudes favoring a thin body shape begin in preschool, the children in the current study were not as restricted in this as were their mothers. The results highlight the challenges of conveying healthy ideas to children about weight while avoiding unrealistic ideals of thinness.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2003 · Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology