Permanent change of station moves and disordered-eating attitudes and behaviors in prevention-seeking adolescent military-dependents

M. K. Higgins Neyland, Lisa M. Shank, Jason M. Lavender, Alexander Rice, Rachel Schindler, Kathrin Hennigan, Senait Solomon, Phillip Kroke, Natasha A. Schvey, Tracy Sbrocco, Denise E. Wilfley, Sarah Jorgensen, Jack A. Yanovski, Cara H. Olsen, Mark Haigney, David A. Klein, Jeffrey Quinlan, Marian Tanofsky-Kraff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: Military-dependent youth appear to be at greater risk for disordered-eating than their civilian counterparts. Permanent change of station moves (PCS-moves), typically occurring every 2–3 years, are commonly experienced by adolescent military-dependents. However, the links between PCS-moves and disordered-eating in this population have not been explored. We hypothesized that stress arising from PCS-moves may contribute to the development and/or exacerbation of disordered-eating. Methods: One-hundred-forty-nine adolescent military-dependents with overweight or obesity (59.7% female; 46.3% non-Hispanic White; 14.4±1.5 years; BMI-z: 1.9±0.4) completed measures before commencing an adulthood obesity and binge-eating disorder prevention trial for adolescents at-risk for both conditions due to BMI percentile ≥85th and loss-of-control (LOC)-eating and/or elevated anxiety symptoms. Disordered-eating attitudes and LOC-eating were assessed by semi-structured interview, and emotional eating was self-reported. Adjusting for relevant covariates, multiple linear regressions examined the unique association of PCS-move frequency with disordered-eating attitudes and disinhibited-eating behaviors. Results: PCS-move frequency was not significantly associated with either LOC-eating frequency (β = 0.09, p = .27) or emotional eating (β = −0.04, p = .62). However, PCS-move frequency was positively associated with disordered-eating attitudes (β = 0.17, p = .04), which appeared to be primarily driven by shape concerns (β = 0.21, p = .01). Discussion: Findings indicate that frequency of PCS-moves is related to disordered-eating attitudes, but not behaviors. Longitudinal research is needed to understand if PCS-moves prospectively relate to the onset and/or exacerbation of disordered-eating, and the relevance of disordered-eating attitudes as opposed to disinhibited-eating behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101470
JournalEating Behaviors
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Disordered-eating
  • Emotional eating
  • Loss-of-control eating
  • Military-dependents
  • Moves
  • Permanent change of station
  • Relocations


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