Using ecological momentary assessment to examine interpersonal and affective predictors of loss of control eating in adolescent girls

Int J Eat Disord. 2014 Nov;47(7):748-57. doi: 10.1002/eat.22333. Epub 2014 Jul 21.


Objective: Pediatric loss of control (LOC) eating is predictive of partial- and full-syndrome binge eating disorder. The interpersonal model proposes that LOC eating is used to cope with negative mood states resulting from interpersonal distress, possibly on a momentary level. We therefore examined temporal associations between interpersonal problems, negative affect, and LOC eating among overweight adolescent girls using ecological momentary assessment (EMA).

Method: Thirty overweight and obese (≥85th body mass index (BMI) percentile; BMI: M = 36.13, SD = 7.49 kg/m(2)) adolescent females (Age: M = 14.92, SD = 1.54 y; 60.0% African American) who reported at least two LOC episodes in the past month completed self-report momentary ratings of interpersonal problems, state affect, and LOC eating for 2 weeks. A series of 2-level multilevel models with centering within subjects was conducted.

Results: Between- and within-subjects interpersonal problems (p's < .05), but not between- (p = .12) or within- (p = .32) subjects negative affect predicted momentary LOC eating. At the between-subjects level, interpersonal problems significantly predicted increases in negative affect (p < 001).

Discussion: Naturalistic data lend support to the predictive value of interpersonal problems for LOC eating among adolescents. Interventions targeting interpersonal factors on a momentary basis may be useful during this developmental stage.

Keywords: adolescents; eating disorders; interpersonal model; loss of control eating binge eating; negative affect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology
  • Adolescent
  • Affect / physiology
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / psychology*
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Overweight / psychology*
  • Physical Examination