Emotion Regulation and Loss of Control Eating in Community-Based Adolescents

Andrea B. Goldschmidt*, Jason M. Lavender, Alison E. Hipwell, Stephanie D. Stepp, Kate Keenan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

The current study investigated concurrent and prospective associations between emotion-related constructs and loss of control (LOC) eating in adolescents. Community-based females (N = 588) completed annual self-report assessments of LOC eating, emotional awareness, emotion regulation strategies, and neuroticism from ages 16 to 18 years. Linear regressions and a regression-based multiple mediation model using bootstrapping were computed to examine the relationships among emotion-related constructs and LOC eating frequency. In the concurrent model, age 18 emotional awareness and emotion regulation strategies were associated with age 18 LOC eating, F(6, 416) = 12.11, p < 0.001, accounting for 4.5 % of the variance after controlling for demographics, body mass index, and neuroticism, F change = 10.81, p < 0.001. In the prospective model, age 17 emotional awareness predicted age 18 LOC eating, F(7, 425) = 11.67, p < 0.001, accounting for 1.7 % of unique variance beyond the effects of age 16 LOC eating and age 17 demographics, body mass index, and neuroticism, F change = 4.26, p = 0.015. In the multiple mediation model, age 18 emotion regulation strategies mediated the association between age 17 neuroticism and age 18 LOC eating, indirect effect estimate = 0.003, 95 % confidence interval = 0.001–0.005, after controlling for age 16 LOC eating and age 17 demographics, body mass index, and emotion regulation variables. Results suggest that deficient emotion regulation may contribute to the onset and maintenance of LOC eating in adolescence (although effects were small), and may partially explain the well-established prospective relationship between negative emotionality and later LOC eating. Prevention and early intervention programs should seek to improve adaptive coping in at-risk populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-191
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Binge eating
  • Emotion regulation
  • Loss of control
  • Negative affect
  • Risk factors

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