The mediating effect of self-disgust on emotion regulation and eating disorder symptoms: A longitudinal perspective.




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Peer reviewed



  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 Two hundred and fifty eight female participants, with a self-reported diagnosis of anorexia nervosa (n=156), bulimia nervosa (n=34) or no previous history of an eating disorder (n=68) 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 emotional regulation as the predictor variables.

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. SD was found to mediate the relationship between depression, non-acceptance of emotion responses and difficulties in controlling behaviours when upset and disordered eating behaviour. The differences in change scores compared to base line measures were also examined.

  1. 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.



Self-Disgust, Eating Disorders


Bell, K., Coulthard, H., and Wildbur, D. (2018) The Mediating Effect of Self-Disgust on Emotion Regulation and Disordered Eating Behaviour. Eating Disorders International Conference, London, UK, March 2017.


Research Institute

Institute for Psychological Science