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Comparative Study
, 108, 335-342

Social Appearance Anxiety and Dietary Restraint as Mediators Between Perfectionism and Binge Eating: A Six Month Three Wave Longitudinal Study

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Comparative Study

Social Appearance Anxiety and Dietary Restraint as Mediators Between Perfectionism and Binge Eating: A Six Month Three Wave Longitudinal Study

Leigh C Brosof et al. Appetite.

Abstract

Binge eating is related to perfectionism and restrained eating. However, the mechanisms underlying these relationships are not well understood. It is possible that social anxiety, specifically social appearance anxiety (i.e., the fear of overall appearance evaluation), influences the relationship between binge eating, perfectionism, and dietary restraint. In the current study (N = 300 women), we tested the relationship between dietary restraint, social appearance anxiety, concern over mistakes (a component of perfectionism), and binge eating in prospective data (three time points: at baseline, at two month, and at six month follow up). We found that social appearance anxiety, dietary restraint, and concern over mistakes each predicted binge eating at baseline. Only social appearance anxiety prospectively predicted binge eating when accounting for all variables. Further, in the tested model, social appearance anxiety mediated the relationship between concern over mistakes and binge eating across six months. On the contrary, dietary restraint did not mediate the relationship between concern over mistakes and binge eating in the tested model. The finding that social appearance anxiety served as a mediator between concern over mistakes and binge eating, but that dietary restraint did not, implies that social appearance anxiety may be a more salient prospective predictor of binge eating than dietary restraint. Intervening on social appearance anxiety may be important in the treatment and prevention of binge eating.

Keywords: Binge eating; Dietary restraint; Disordered eating; Perfectionism; Social anxiety; Social appearance anxiety.

Conflict of interest statement

We have no conflicts of interests to report.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
A prospective model of the relationship between concern over mistakes, social appearance anxiety, dietary restraint, and binge eating over six-months. All relationships were modeled. Bolded lines represent significant relationships. Autoregressive relationships are faded and dashed for clarity; Time 1 to Time 2 is two months; Time 1 to Time 3 is six months. ** p < .01, * p < .05
Figure 2
Figure 2
Interaction between Body Mass Index (BMI) and Dietary Restraint at Time 1 (T1)

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