The role of negative affect in eating disorders and substance use disorders

Brian J. Cook*, Stephen A. Wonderlich, Jason M. Lavender

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Affect regulation is one mechanism that has been implicated in the development and maintenance of both eating disorders and substance use disorders. Specifically, the affective processing model of negative reinforcement posits that negative affect, as a symptom of withdrawal, is the main impetus in substance use disorder development and maintenance. Similarly, a recent transactional model of emotion dysregulation posits that individuals with eating disorders display heightened emotional sensitivity and reactivity, which in turn predisposes these individuals to eating disorder behaviors (e.g., binge eating, purging, etc.) as a means of attempting to modulate heightened negative affect. While affect regulation is similar in eating disorders and substance use disorders, differences in precursors of negative affect, cognitions, and withdrawal symptoms are present in these two forms of psychopathology. Despite these differences, affect regulation models in both eating and substance use disorders have begun to influence treatment. Thus, understanding the role of negative affect may be a key component of treating substance use disorders and eating disorders independently, as well as the co-occurrence of these disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEating Disorders, Addictions and Substance Use Disorders
Subtitle of host publicationResearch, Clinical and Treatment Perspectives
PublisherSpringer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783642453786
ISBN (Print)3642453775, 9783642453779
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Affect regulation
  • Eating disorders
  • Emotion dysregulation
  • Substance use disorders


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