Hard exercise, affect lability, and personality among individuals with bulimia nervosa

Lisa M. Brownstone, Ellen E. Fitzsimmons-Craft, Stephen A. Wonderlich, Thomas E. Joiner, Daniel Le Grange, James E. Mitchell, Scott J. Crow, Carol B. Peterson, Ross D. Crosby, Marjorie H. Klein, Anna M. Bardone-Cone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The current study explores the personality traits of compulsivity (e.g., sense of orderliness and duty to perform tasks completely) and restricted expression (e.g., emotion expression difficulties) as potential moderators of the relation between affect lability and frequency of hard exercise episodes in a sample of individuals with bulimic pathology. Participants were 204 adult females recruited in five Midwestern cities who met criteria for threshold or subthreshold bulimia nervosa (BN). Compulsivity was found to significantly moderate the relation between affect lability and number of hard exercise episodes over the past 28. days, such that among those with high compulsivity, level of affect lability was associated with the number of hard exercise episodes; whereas, among those with low compulsivity, affect lability was not associated with the number of hard exercise episodes. The same pattern of findings emerged for restricted expression; however, this finding approached, but did not reach statistical significance. As such, it appears that affect lability is differentially related to hard exercise among individuals with BN depending upon the level of compulsivity and, to a more limited extent, restricted expression. These results suggest that, for individuals with BN with either compulsivity or restricted expression, focusing treatment on increasing flexibility and/or verbal expression of emotions may help in the context of intense, fluctuating affect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-419
Number of pages7
JournalEating Behaviors
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research for this study was supported by the following grants: 1 R01-MH/DK58820 , 1 R01-DK61973 , 1 R01-MH59100 , 1 R01-MH66287 , P30-DK50456 , K02-MH65919 , and 1 R01-MH59234 from NIH and a University of Missouri Research Council Grant , the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation , and the Walden W. and Jean Young Shaw Foundation . These sources of funding had no role in study design, collection, analysis, or interpretation of data, writing of the manuscript, or deciding to submit the manuscript for publication.


  • Affect lability
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Compulsivity
  • Emotion expression
  • Emotion regulation
  • Exercise


Dive into the research topics of 'Hard exercise, affect lability, and personality among individuals with bulimia nervosa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this