Master of Science in Clinical Psychology

Clinical Psychology – Presentations

"The association between emotion regulation strategies and symptoms of binge eating disorder"

Jenissa Mac Vie, Amy Johansson, Jamie Bedics

Current research indicates that college students report a significant degree of unhealthy eating behavior (Dunn, Larimer, & Neighbors, 2002; Dunn, Larimer, & Neighbors, 2003). Research has increasingly focused on emotional models as predictors of eating disorder symptoms. These studies have specifically focused on whether binge eaters (in a university population) have fewer strategies to modulate and tolerate negative affect (Whiteside, Chen, Neighbors, Hunter, Lo, & Larimer, 2007). Despite this research, there has been less work on identifying what skills binge eaters lack in regulating negative affect. The purpose of this project was to replicate and expand on Whiteside et al.'s study (2007) and to identify what strategies of coping binge eaters lack. A total of 67 participants completed questionnaires on emotion regulation (Gratz, K. L. & Roemer, L., 2004), coping skills (Carver, Scheier, & Weintraub, 1989; Neacsiu, Rizvi, Vitaliano, Lynch, & Linehan, 2010), and eating disorder severity (Stice, Telch, & Rizvi, 2000). Hierarchical regression analysis explored the relative contribution of coping skills and emotion regulation strategies in predicting eating disorder severity. The overall model was statistically significant, R2 = .29, F (6, 59) = 3.96, p < .005. Lack of strategies for managing intense emotions was the strongest significant predictor in the model (ß = .45, p<0.05) while non-acceptance of emotions (ß = .27, ns) and general acceptance strategies (ß= -.23, ns) approached significance. The present findings replicate the work of Whiteside, Chen, Neighbors, Hunter, Lo, & Larimer (2007) in suggesting the most critical attribute predictive of eating disorder severity is lack of skills and strategies focused on managing extreme emotions. Results will be discussed in the context of therapeutic interventions focused on emotional regulation for binge eating disorder.

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