Dysfunctional eating in an Australian community sample: The role of emotion regulation, impulsivity, and reward and punishment sensitivity

Peta Stapleton*, Melissa Whitehead

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
148 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This study aimed to examine the role of emotion regulation and reinforcement sensitivity in dysfunctional eating behaviours. Two hundred twenty-eight adults from the Australian community completed self-report inventories assessing the variables. Dysfunctional restrained eaters differed from those who did not engage in restrained eating in terms of their emotion regulation, impulsivity, and sensitivity to reward. Difficulties in emotion regulation, low impulsivity, and sensitivity to reward predicted engagement in restrained eating. Emotional eaters significantly differed from those who did not engage in dysfunctional levels of emotional eating in terms of their emotion regulation, impulsivity, and sensitivity towards reward, and difficulties in emotion regulation predicted emotional eating. Finally, dysfunctional external eaters differed from non-dysfunctional external eaters in terms of their emotion regulation, impulsivity, sensitivity towards reward, as well as sensitivity towards punishment, and difficulties with emotion regulation and sensitivity towards reward predicted external eating. These findings highlight the importance of the inclusion of emotional functioning in models of development and maintenance of eating disorders, and support the potential implementation of treatment interventions that address emotion regulation and include strategies to cope with impulsivity and reinforcement sensitivities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-368
Number of pages11
JournalAustralian Psychologist
Volume49
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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