Trajectories of Higher- and Lower-Order Dimensions of Negative and Positive Affect Relative to Restrictive Eating in Anorexia Nervosa

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Abstract

Despite robust support for the role of affect in the maintenance of binge eating and purging, the relationship between affect and restrictive eating remains poorly understood. To investigate the relationship between restrictive eating and affect, ecological momentary assessment data from 118 women with anorexia nervosa (AN) were used to examine trajectories of higher-order dimensions of negative affect (NA) and positive affect (PA), as well as lower-order dimensions of NA (Fear, Guilt) and PA (Joviality, Self-Assurance) relative to restrictive eating. Affect trajectories were modeled before and after restrictive eating episodes and AN subtype was examined as a moderator of these trajectories. Across the sample, Guilt significantly increased before and decreased after restrictive eating episodes. Global NA, Global PA, Fear, Joviality, and Self-Assurance did not vary relative to restrictive eating episodes across the sample. However, significant subtype by trajectory interactions were detected for PA indices. Among individuals with AN restricting subtype, Global PA, Joviality, and Self-Assurance decreased prior to and Self-Assurance increased following restrictive eating episodes. In contrast, Global PA and Self-Assurance increased prior to, but did not change following, restrictive eating episodes among individuals with AN binge eating/purging subtype. Results suggest that dietary restriction may function to mitigate guilt across AN subtypes and to enhance self-assurance among individuals with AN restricting subtype.

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