Examination of the Interaction between Parental Military-Status and Race among Non-Hispanic Black and Non-Hispanic White Adolescents with Overweight/Obesity

M. K. Higgins Neyland, Lisa M. Shank, Jason M. Lavender, Natasha L. Burke, Alexander Rice, Julia Gallagher-Teske, Bethelhem Markos, Loie M. Faulkner, Kweku G. Djan, Esther A. Kwarteng, Sarah Lemay-Russell, Megan N. Parker, Natasha A. Schvey, Tracy Sbrocco, Denise E. Wilfley, Brian Ford, Caitlin Ford, Mark Haigney, David A. Klein, Cara H. OlsenJeffrey Quinlan, Sarah Jorgensen, Sheila Brady, Lauren B. Shomaker, Jack A. Yanovski, Marian Tanofsky-Kraff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: Adolescent military-dependents experience distinct risk and protective factors, which may necessitate additional clinical considerations. In civilian youth, overweight/obesity is associated with eating, internalizing, and externalizing difficulties, with some studies reporting more difficulties among non-Hispanic White (vs. non-Hispanic Black) youth. It is unknown if these disparities exist among adolescent military-dependents, or between civilian and military-dependent youth. Methods: Non-Hispanic Black (187 civilian, 38 military-dependent) and non-Hispanic White (205 civilian, 84 military-dependent) adolescents with overweight/obesity (14.7 ± 1.6 years; 73.9% girls; body mass index adjusted for age and sex 1.9 ± 0.5) completed a disordered-eating interview; parents completed a measure assessing their child's internalizing and externalizing difficulties. Multiple linear regressions examined parental military-status as a moderator of the relationship of participant race with eating, internalizing, and externalizing difficulties. Results: White civilian youth with overweight/obesity reported significantly greater disordered-eating than their Black peers (p <. 001); there were no other significant racial differences. In all regressions, parental military-status significantly moderated the association between race and each dependent variable (ps <. 047). Black military-dependents (vs. civilians) reported more disordered-eating and internalizing difficulties (ps =. 01). White military-dependents (vs. civilians) reported fewer externalizing difficulties (p =. 01). Conclusions: Black adolescent military-dependents with overweight/obesity may experience more eating and internalizing difficulties (vs. civilians), a pattern not observed among White participants. Future work should examine if being a military-dependent and a historically marginalized racial group member accounts for these findings. Such data may inform providers of youth with intersecting minority identities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)743-753
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pediatric Psychology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Behavior problems
  • Disordered-eating
  • Military-dependents
  • Overweight/obesity
  • Race


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