Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Nursing (Nursing)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Anne E. Norris

Second Committee Member

Joseph De Santis

Third Committee Member

Brian McCabe

Fourth Committee Member

Elizabeth Pulgaron


Disordered eating (DE) is a major public health concern related to both clinical eating disorders and obesity. DE encompasses various subclinical, yet maladaptive eating behaviors that include dieting, binge eating, and/or extreme weight control behaviors (i.e. self-induced vomiting, laxatives). Hispanic youth appear to be especially vulnerable to DE in comparison to other ethnic groups. However, to date there has been little research focused on Hispanic youth and DE, particularly those in middle childhood (8-11 years). The purpose of this study was to test a theoretical model examining family level variables, parenting strategies for eating and physical activity (PEAS) and family functioning, and their relationships with DE among Hispanic youth, and to understand the role of gender in moderating these relationships. A cross-sectional design was used for a secondary analysis of data from the Study of Latino Youth (SOL Youth), a national, population-based study of Hispanic youth from the Bronx, Chicago, Miami, and San Diego. The subsample for the current study was limited to youth participants 8-11 years (n=673) and their parents (n=569). PEAS and family functioning were independent variables, and DE, specifically dieting and binge eating, were dependent variables. Preliminary analyses explored various individual and sociocultural variables as potential covariates. Of those, BMI, years in U.S., and study site were included in theoretical model testing. Model testing was conducted with one-child per family (n=569) using structural equation modeling. Weak support for some hypotheses were demonstrated for youth variables in correlational analyses. However, the study hypotheses were generally not supported, perhaps due to poor fit of the measurement models, particularly for the youth model. Thus, these measurement issues may have prevented an understanding of the theoretical relationship between family level variables and DE. Further research is needed to refine the measures of key study variables (family functioning and PEAS) used in the current study to improve their developmental and cultural fit for Hispanic youth and their parents.Supplemental analyses were conducted to further explore potential study site differences, gender differences, and/or evidence of validity of measures between youth and parent family level variables, BMI, and DE. Of interest, supplemental analyses indicated that those youth engaging in dieting and/or binge eating had a higher BMI than those youth who did not engage in these behaviors. Participants in the study reported high rates of both dieting and binge eating. This suggests that future intervention development surrounding DE among Hispanic youth is necessary for prevention and treatment of DE and its negative health consequences. Specific nursing research and practice implications are presented in the discussion.


childhood; disordered eating; family functioning; Hispanic; Latino; parenting