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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.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\ 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.    White civilian youth with overweight/obesity reported significantly greater disordered-eating than their Black peers (p \lt; .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 \lt; .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).    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 Mar 2022


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