Date of Award

Spring 5-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Sheila Davis

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Janie Butts

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Bonnie Harbaugh

Committee Member 3 Department


Committee Member 4

Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Research and Administration

Committee Member 5

LaDonna Northington

Committee Member 5 Department



Children who are overweight and obese are more likely to maintain their weight status into adulthood (Fletcher, Cooper, Helms, Northington, & Winters, 2009; World Health Organization [WHO], 2015). The prevalence of obesity has shown a more consistent increase among African Americans aged 2-19 (Flegal, Carroll, Kit, & Ogden, 2012; Ogden, Carroll, Kit, & Flegal, 2012; Ogden, Carroll, Kit & Flegal, 2014) with an even greater disparity among African American girls (Ogden & Carroll, 2010). Family dynamics is one of the many factors of the environment that has been linked to obesity among children and adolescents. The purpose of this study was first, to explore to what extent family dynamics impact obesity among 12-16 year old African American adolescent girls and secondly, to generate a model of family dynamics that would predict obesity.

This study employed data from the 2009/2010 United States of America (USA) Health Behaviors of School-Aged Children (HBSC) Study database. The final sample included 806 12-16 year old African American adolescent girls. Data were collected for the four variables of family dynamics: family affluence scale score, family structure, perceived parental promotion of autonomy, and perceived parental affection. Body mass index (BMI) weight status categories were used to determine obesity in this study.

Data analysis was conducted using a variety of statistical analyses. Spearman’s Rho correlation was used to determine the relationship between family affluence scale score, perceived parental promotion of autonomy, perceived parental affection, and BMI weight status categories. Cramer’s V was used to determine the relationship between family structure and BMI weight status categories. Results from a multinomial logistic regression were used to predict BMI weight status categories using a model of family dynamics.

The findings of this study indicated that family affluence was a significant predictor of BMI weight status categories. Adolescent girls with high affluence were more likely to be in a lower BMI weight status categories as opposed to girls with low affluence. The investigator-generated model of family dynamics correctly predicted 68.23% of the BMI weight categories among adolescent girls. Prospective research studies should explore the impact of the various elements of family affluence on obesity among African American adolescent girls.

Included in

Nursing Commons