The Role of Self-Disgust and Emotion Regulation within Recovering from an Eating Disorder: A Mixed Methods, Longitudinal Perspective
1) Background There is a substantial body of literature supporting the view that disordered eating behaviour is broadly characterized by emotion dysregulation but little attention has been paid to the possible mediators that could explain this relationship. 2) Method Three hundred and fifteen female participants, with a self-reported diagnosis of anorexia nervosa (n=155), bulimia nervosa (n=97) or no previous history of an eating disorder (n=63) took part in a questionnaire based longitudinal study, using measures of eating disorder symptoms as the outcome variables and scores of self-disgust (SD) and difficulties in emotion regulation (DER) as the predictor variables. Out of this sample, twelve were also interviewed to learn more about their lived experiences of recovery and how SD may have impacted on this. 3) Results SD was significantly, positively associated with all sub types of difficulties in emotion regulation and disordered eating behaviour, as well measures of anxiety and depression. In line with this, SD also predicted eating disorder symptomology after controlling for anxiety, depression and emotional regulation difficulties. Key themes from the interviews are also discussed. 4) Discussion Difficulties in emotion regulation have already been established as a useful target for therapeutic intervention and therefore targeting and developing strategies to deal with SD explicitly may offer another strand of potential treatment for those with an eating disorder.
Citation : Bell, K., Coulthard, H., and Wildbur, D. (2019) The Role of Self-Disgust and Emotion Regulation within Recovering from an Eating Disorder: A Mixed Methods, Longitudinal Perspective. Paper presented at 9th World Congress of Behavioural & Cognitive Therapies, Berlin, Germany.