Purpose: Appearance-related stress may result from appearance-focused events such as seeing one’s reflection, seeing media images, and shopping for clothes. The purpose of this study was to examine the prospective association between momentary appearance-related stress and eating disorder (ED) behaviors (i.e., binge eating and vomiting) among women with anorexia nervosa (AN) using ecological momentary assessment (EMA). We hypothesized that appearance-related stress at Time 1 would predict binge eating and vomiting at Time 2, and that this prospective association would be mediated by momentary anxiety at Time 2 (controlling for anxiety at Time 1). Methods: Women with AN completed a 2-week EMA protocol involving repeated daily assessments of experiences and behaviors. Results: Momentary appearance-related stress preceded binge eating and vomiting, and momentary anxiety mediated the prospective association between appearance-related stress and ED behaviors. Conclusions: Targeted momentary interventions delivered in the natural environment that address appearance-related stress may have utility in the treatment of ED behaviors.
- Anorexia nervosa
- Binge eating
- Ecological momentary assessment