Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Interdisciplinary Education

Major Professor

Kathy Bradley-Klug, Ph.D.


Childhood obesity, Obesity, Depression, Binge-eating, Structural equation modeling


This study examined the interrelationships between adolescent weight and several other variables thought to impact weight and obesity: physical activity, depressive symptoms, binge-eating symptoms, dieting, socio-economic status, special education status, gender, and ethnicity. The sample consisted of 251 high school students in rural Florida who completed measures of depression, binge-eating, dieting, and physical activity. Measurement instruments included the Reynolds Adolescent Depression Scale-2nd Edition (RADS-2), the bulimia scale of the Eating Disorder Inventory-2 (EDI-2), the dieting scale of the Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire (DEBQ), and a physical activity questionnaire derived from the Youth Risk Behavior Scale for Students (YRBSS). The study utilized path analysis, a group correlational design, to determine whether the proposed path model fit the data. Obese and non-obese students also were compared with regard to a) the levels of binge-eating symptoms,

and b) the relationship between binge-eating and depression. Path analysis results were not statistically or clinically significant, suggesting a poor fit of the model to the data. Results indicated 19% of participants were obese and 20% were overweight. More than three times as many obese students than non-obese students reported experiencing a binge-eating experience at some time in the past. However, on the bulimia scale of the EDI-2, obese and non-obese participants did not differ statistically in their responses. Statistically but not clinically significant correlations were revealed between depression and binge-eating for the sample and also for non-obese students. For the sub-sample of 13 students who had both binged and dieted, 7 had binged first, 3 had dieted first, and 3 binged and dieted for the first time at the same age. Future research should continue to investigate the relationships of the variables related to obesity. Future directions might include a larger sampl

e size and a modified sample selection process. Action research should continue in the areas of obesity prevention and intervention, and student services personnel should promote healthy lifestyle choices and a recognition of obesity as a socio-cultural problem.