Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Observational Learning: The Connection between Mothers' Fat Talk and Daughters' Weight-Related Beliefs and Behaviors
by Jones, Chelsea Carroll, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2019, 95; 13857894
Abstract (Summary)

This study assessed how, through social learning theory’s four-stage process of observational learning (attention, retention, motoric reproduction, and reinforcement), daughters attend to, retain, and eventually replicate behaviors and attitudes they see their mothers engaging in. Results revealed significant relationships between daughters’ perceptions of mothers’ modeled behaviors and daughters’ perceptions of their mothers’ fat talk communication, their mothers’ weight loss behaviors, and their mothers’ thin ideal attitudes and their own body- and weight-related actions and beliefs (including body dissatisfaction, engagement in weight loss behaviors, and motivation to lose weight). Additionally, the findings indicated that mother’s engagement in weight loss behaviors (i.e., the motoric reproduction stage of observational learning) was the most significant predictor of daughters’ engagement in weight loss behaviors; and mother’s use of fat talk (i.e., the retention stage of observational learning) was the most significant predictor of daughters’ body dissatisfaction. Interestingly, the closer that daughters were to their mothers, the less frequently they believed their mother engaged in fat talk. Overall, this study highlighted the enduring dynamics of mother-daughter body-related communication and the value of social learning theory.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Young, Stacy L.
Commitee: Russell, Jessica, Abrams, Jessica
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Communication Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 81/1(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Communication, Psychology, Gender studies, Individual & family studies
Keywords: Body dissatisfaction, Fat talk, Mother-daughter relationship, Observational learning, Social learning theory, Thin idealization
Publication Number: 13857894
ISBN: 9781085560030
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