Contributions From Outstanding Young Eating Disorder Investigators: What We Are Learning, How We Are Learning It, and Where Might We Go Next?

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Abstract

This is a time of striking progress in the field of eating disorders, and outstanding young psychological scientists are playing an important role in this progress. This special section provides a sample of this work, which is characterized by a diversity of research questions and methods. The importance of transdiagnostic processes that increase risk for both disordered eating and other dysfunction is reflected in articles that identify shared familial risk across disorders, integrate transdiagnostic and eating disorder-specific risk, and examine the impact of affective processing on restricting behavior. The importance of eating disorder-specific risk is reflected in an article on disorder-specific relations between hunger and taste. The importance of integrative risk models across levels of analysis is reflected in articles that investigate the heritable component of interactions between broad personality and disorder-specific risk factors, the momentary impact of personality traits on precipitants of binge-purge episodes, brain system function responses to environmental stressors, and cross-generational transmission of risk. The importance of further understanding the nature and scope of eating disorder pathology is reflected in a meta-analysis of purging disorder and an investigation of genetic effects on disordered eating in males. This commentary places these articles in the context of challenges facing the field and considers the future of eating disorders research.

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