Unpacking cognitive emotion regulation in eating disorder psychopathology: The differential relationships between rumination, thought suppression, and eating disorder symptoms among men and women

Kathryn E. Smith*, Tyler B. Mason, Nicholas L. Anderson, Jason M. Lavender

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

While previous literature suggests that emotion dysregulation is a salient factor contributing to the onset and maintenance of eating disorders (EDs), less is known about how maladaptive, cognitively oriented regulation strategies such as rumination and thought suppression may be uniquely related to ED symptoms in men and women. The present study sought to examine the independent associations of ruminative brooding and thought suppression with ED symptoms, after controlling for negative affect intensity, and assess whether these associations differ by gender. Participants were 263 undergraduates who completed a series of questionnaires, including measures of ED symptoms (Eating Disorder Diagnostic Scale), ruminative brooding (Ruminative Response Scale), and thought suppression (White Bear Suppression Inventory). Generalized linear models examined main effects of ruminative brooding and thought suppression and their interactions with gender on ED symptoms, controlling for negative affect intensity. Higher ruminative brooding was associated with higher binge eating among women. Thought suppression was associated with higher vomiting and fasting frequency in both genders, with a stronger association between suppression and fasting in men compared to women. Together results demonstrate the unique contributions of cognitive perseveration and avoidance in ED symptomatology; specifically, ruminative brooding may be a salient factor contributing to binge eating in women, while high levels of thought suppression among males may contribute to fasting. Findings highlight the potential importance of examining and differentially targeting specific facets of cognitive emotion regulation in men and women engaging in ED behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-100
Number of pages6
JournalEating Behaviors
Volume32
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Avoidance
  • Emotion regulation
  • Gender differences
  • Rumination
  • Thought suppression

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