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Which dimensions of emotion dysregulation predict the onset and persistence of eating disorder behaviours? A prospective study

journal contribution
posted on 01.08.2022, 00:00 authored by Zoe McClureZoe McClure, Mariel MesserMariel Messer, Cleo AndersonCleo Anderson, C Liu, Jake LinardonJake Linardon
Background: Theoretical models highlight the importance of emotion dysregulation as a key risk and maintaining factor for eating disorders. However, most studies testing these theories are cross-sectional. It remains unclear which dimensions of emotion dysregulation account for the onset and persistence of eating disorder behaviours over time. Methods: To address these gaps, data were analyzed from 1321 adult women who completed study measures at baseline and eight-month follow-up. The dimensions of emotion dysregulation assessed were five subscales from the abbreviated 16-item Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale. Outcomes included the onset (versus asymptomatic) and persistence (versus remission) of binge eating and compensatory behaviours. Results: Univariate logistic regressions showed that, among initially asymptomatic women, higher baseline levels of each emotion dysregulation dimension (except the “goals” subscale) predicted the onset of binge eating and compensatory behaviours at follow-up. Each dimension also predicted the persistence of compensatory behaviours at follow-up among women endorsing these behaviours at baseline, while the “impulse”, “strategies”, and “non-acceptance” dimensions predicted the persistence of binge eating. In multivariate analyses, only the “strategies” dimension predicted the onset and persistence of binge eating, while the “non-acceptance” dimension predicted the onset and persistence of compensatory behaviours. Limitations: Only a limited number of emotion dysregulation dimensions were tested. Conclusion: Findings demonstrate the importance of emotion dysregulation dimensions in accounting for the onset and maintenance of eating disorder behaviours. The delivery of specific intervention strategies designed to address emotion dysregulation may depend on the risk and symptom profile of an individual.



Journal of Affective Disorders




123 - 128




Amsterdam, The Netherlands







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal