Examining the interdependence of parent-child dyads: Effects on weight loss and maintenance

Lauren A. Fowler, Anne Claire Grammer, Mary Katherine Ray, Katherine N. Balantekin, Richard I. Stein, Rachel P. Kolko Conlon, R. Robinson Welch, Michael G. Perri, Leonard H. Epstein, Denise E. Wilfley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: This study aimed to further elucidate correlated weight changes in parent-child dyads enrolled in family-based treatment (FBT) by modeling the interdependence of weight changes during treatment. Methods: Parent-child dyads (n = 172) with overweight/obesity (child mean zBMI = 2.16 ± 0.39; parent mean BMI = 37.9 ± 9.4 kg/m2) completed 4 months of FBT and were randomized to one of three 8-month maintenance interventions (Social Facilitation Maintenance [SFM]-high dose, SFM-low dose or control). Weight/height was measured at 0, 4 and 12 months. Structural equation models simultaneously estimated the effect that an individual had on their own (actor effect) and on one another's (partner effect) weight-status across time using the actor-partner interdependence model. Results: Actor paths were significant over time for parent and child. Partner paths were significant for child zBMI predicting parent BMI at 4 and 12 months. Maintenance condition moderated actor/partner paths in the model. Conclusions: Child weight change may motivate parents to make environmental and behavioural changes that impact their own weight. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00759746.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12697
JournalPediatric Obesity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • actor-partner interdependence model
  • family-based treatment
  • long-term weight maintenance
  • obesity


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