Structural Relationships Among Attachment Insecurity, Alexithymia, and Body Esteem in Women With Eating Disorders.

Structural relationships among attachment insecurity, alexithymia, and body esteem in women with eating disorders.

Eat Behav. 2013 Aug; 14(3): 366-73
Keating L, Tasca GA, Hill R

Patients with eating disorders tend to experience low levels of body esteem. To assess the psychosocial processes that may predict low body esteem in these individuals, we assessed the structural interrelations among attachment anxiety, attachment avoidance, alexithymia, and body esteem in a cross-sectional sample of patients with eating disorders. We tested a model in which alexithymia mediates the relationship between attachment insecurity and body esteem. Participants were 300 women with anorexia nervosa (n=109), bulimia nervosa (n=130), and eating disorders not otherwise specified (n=61) who completed pretreatment self-report questionnaires at intake for a day hospital treatment program. We found a direct and negative relationship between attachment anxiety and body esteem. Additionally, attachment avoidance had an indirect negative relationship to body esteem through alexithymia. These results indicate that therapists may attend to attachment insecurity and affective regulation strategies when addressing body image issues in patients with eating disorders. HubMed – eating disorders

Happy eating: The Single Target Implicit Association Test predicts overeating after positive emotions.

Eat Behav. 2013 Aug; 14(3): 348-55
Bongers P, Jansen A, Houben K, Roefs A

For many years, questionnaires have been considered the standard when examining emotional eating behavior. However, recently, some controversy has arisen about these questionnaires, and their usefulness in identifying emotional eaters has been questioned. The current study aimed to investigate the Single Target Implicit Association Test (ST-IAT) as a measure of emotional eating. Two ST-IATs (assessing food-positive and food-negative associations respectively) and the Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire (DEBQ) were compared in undergraduate students. A positive, negative or neutral mood was induced by means of a film clip, and milkshake consumption was measured during and after the mood induction. It was hypothesized that participants with strong emotion-food associations on the ST-IATs (i.e., IAT-emotional eaters) would consume more food in the emotion induction condition corresponding to that emotion, as compared to those with weak emotion-food associations as well as to those in the neutral condition. Participants who scored high on both the positive and negative ST-IATs ate more during a positive mood induction than during a negative mood induction. This effect did not extend to milkshake consumption after the mood induction procedure. In addition, IAT-positive emotional eaters consumed more food than IAT-non-emotional eaters. No effects of the DEBQ on milkshake consumption were found. It is concluded that the ST-IAT has potential as a measure of emotional eating. HubMed – eating disorders

Dieting in bulimia nervosa is associated with increased food restriction and psychopathology but decreased binge eating.

Eat Behav. 2013 Aug; 14(3): 342-7
Lowe MR, Witt AA, Grossman SL

The cognitive behavioral model of bulimia nervosa (BN) suggests that dieting is central to the maintenance of binge eating. However, correlational and experimental studies suggest that additional clarification is needed about the nature of this relationship. Dieting, weight, eating disorder psychopathology, and depression were assessed at admission among 166 patients with BN presenting for residential treatment. As in past research, a significant fraction (43%) of patients with BN reported not currently dieting. A comparison of weight loss dieters and non-dieters found greater food restriction and eating disorder psychopathology among weight loss dieters. However, dieters reported less frequent binge eating. There were no significant group differences in depression. Results suggest that 1) while many individuals with BN are attempting to restrict their food intake, the goal of losing weight fundamentally alters the effect of such restriction on binge eating, and 2) treatment may benefit from helping patients to establish a healthier approach to achieving long-term weight stability. HubMed – eating disorders