Examining the role of self-discrepancy and self-directed style in bulimia nervosa

Psychiatry Res. 2016 Oct 30;244:294-9. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2016.07.056. Epub 2016 Aug 1.

Abstract

Two of the primary components within Integrative Cognitive Affective Therapy (ICAT) are self-discrepancy and self-directed style. Self-discrepancy includes both actual:ideal (discrepancy between oneself and who one wishes they were) and actual:ought (discrepancy between oneself and who one believes they ought to be). Self-directed style in ICAT refers to a variety of behaviors emitted by a person toward the self including self-blaming and self-affirming. This study explored main effects and interactions between self-discrepancy and self-directed style in relation to global eating disorder (ED) psychopathology, depressive symptoms, and anxiety. Eighty treatment-seeking adults from the Midwest with BN or subthreshold BN completed interviews and self-report measures. Self-affirm and self-blame were associated with ED psychopathology, depressive symptoms, and anxiety. Actual:ideal discrepancy was related to anxiety and actual:ought discrepancy was related to anxiety and depressive symptoms. Interactions were found between self-affirm and actual:ought discrepancy as well as self-blame and actual:ought discrepancy for depressive symptoms. High actual:ought was related to increased depressive symptoms regardless of levels of self-affirm or self-blame. Effect sizes for models were medium-to-large with anxiety models demonstrating the largest effects. This study provides further evidence supporting the ICAT model and treatment, which targets self-discrepancies, self-directed styles, and related emotional states.

Keywords: Bulimia nervosa; Integrative cognitive affective therapy; Self-directed style; Self-discrepancy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Bulimia Nervosa / psychology*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Concept
  • Young Adult