Restrictive eating is associated with emotion regulation difficulties in a non-clinical sample

Ann F. Haynos, Shirley B. Wang, Alan E. Fruzzetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The relationship between emotion regulation difficulties and restrictive eating has not been established in non-clinical samples. In this study, undergraduates (n = 98) provided information regarding general and specific emotion regulation difficulties on the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS) and whether they had engaged in recent restrictive eating. Generalized linear models were used to determine if individuals endorsing versus denying recent restrictive eating differed on emotion regulation problems. Results indicated that individuals endorsing restrictive eating had elevated DERS Total (p <.001), Goals (p =.001), Impulse (p <.001), and Strategies (p <.001) scores. Results remained primarily unchanged after controlling for the related construct of dietary restraint. Findings indicate that endorsement of restrictive eating among non-clinical individuals is uniquely associated with emotion regulation deficits, especially those reflecting emotional under-control. Interventions targeting emotion regulation may enhance prevention and treatment of restrictive eating across severity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-12
Number of pages8
JournalEating disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018

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