A Longitudinal Study of Maternal and Child Internalizing Symptoms Predicting Early Adolescent Emotional Eating

Katherine M. Kidwell, Timothy D. Nelson, Jennifer Mize Nelson, Kimberly Andrews Espy

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1 Scopus citations


Objective nal and child internalizing symptoms as predictors of early adolescent emotional eating in a longitudinal framework spanning three critical developmental periods (preschool, elementary school, and early adolescence). Methods Participants were 170 children recruited at preschool age for a longitudinal study. When children were 5.25 years, their mothers completed ratings of their own internalizing symptoms. During the spring of 4th grade, children completed measures of internalizing symptoms. In early adolescence, youth completed a measure of emotional eating. Results Maternal and child internalizing symptoms predicted adolescent emotional eating. The results indicated that child psychopathology moderated the association between maternal psychopathology (except for maternal anxiety) and early adolescent emotional eating. There was no evidence of mediation. Conclusions Pediatric psychologists are encouraged to provide early screening of, and interventions for, maternal and child internalizing symptoms to prevent children's emotional eating.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-456
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of pediatric psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017



  • anxiety
  • child internalizing
  • depression
  • emotional eating
  • maternal internalizing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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