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. 2019 Aug;34:101315.
doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2019.101315. Epub 2019 Jul 22.

Emotion Regulation Strategy Use and Eating Disorder Symptoms in Daily Life


Emotion Regulation Strategy Use and Eating Disorder Symptoms in Daily Life

Megan E Mikhail et al. Eat Behav. .


Objective: Emotion regulation is posited to be disrupted in eating disorders, but studies have yet to examine the linkage between eating disorder symptoms and emotion regulation strategy use in daily life. We conducted an experience sampling study investigating associations between trait-level difficulties with emotion regulation, daily emotion regulation strategy use, and eating disorder symptoms in daily life.

Method: Fifty-three undergraduate women completed a trait-level measure of difficulties with emotion regulation, then reported their use of emotion regulation strategies four times per day for seven days. At the end of each day, they also reported daily disordered eating symptoms and behaviors.

Results: Reduced access to emotion regulation strategies at the trait-level was associated with dimensional eating disorder symptoms and food restriction across the study period. In addition, greater use of maladaptive strategies and attentional deployment and less use of adaptive strategies on a given day were associated with a higher likelihood of food restriction on that day. Moderation analyses based on baseline eating disorder symptoms indicated that associations were consistent across symptom severity.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that certain eating disorder symptoms are associated with difficulties in regulating emotions at the trait-level and in daily life.

Keywords: Disordered eating; Emotion; Emotion regulation; Experience sampling.

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