Examining the association between thought suppression and eating disorder symptoms in men

Jason M. Lavender*, Drew A. Anderson, Kim L. Gratz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Previous studies have shown an association between eating disorder symptoms and both negative affect and avoidance-based emotion regulation strategies among women and men. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the cognitive emotion regulation strategy of thought suppression and eating disorder symptoms in the understudied population of men. Two-hundred ninety-six undergraduate men completed a series of questionnaires including the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, the White Bear Suppression Inventory, and the Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire. Results supported an association between chronic thought suppression and both global and specific eating disorder symptoms (shape concern, weight concern, eating concern, and, to a lesser extent, restraint) among men. Further, thought suppression was found to fully mediate the relationships between negative affect and both global eating disorder symptoms and the specific eating disorder symptom of shape concern, and to partially mediate the relationship between negative affect and the eating disorder symptoms of eating and weight concerns. These findings suggest that chronic efforts to suppress unpleasant or unwanted thoughts may be one avoidance strategy that underlies the relationship between the experience of negative affect and eating disorder symptoms in men.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)788-795
Number of pages8
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Avoidance
  • Disordered eating
  • Emotion regulation
  • Negative affect
  • Thought suppression


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