This study examined self-discrepancy, a construct of theoretical relevance to eating disorder (ED) psychopathology, across different types of EDs. Individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN; n = 112), bulimia nervosa (BN; n = 72), and binge eating disorder (BED; n = 199) completed semi-structured interviews assessing specific types of self-discrepancies. Results revealed that actual:ideal (A:I) discrepancy was positively associated with AN, actual:ought (A:O) discrepancy was positively associated with BN and BED, and self-discrepancies did not differentiate BN from BED. Across diagnoses, A:O discrepancy was positively associated with severity of purging, binge eating, and global ED psychopathology. Further, there were significant interactions between diagnosis and A:O discrepancy for global ED psychopathology and between diagnosis and A:I discrepancy for binge eating and driven exercise. These results support the importance of self-discrepancy as a potential causal and maintenance variable in EDs that differentiates among different types of EDs and symptom severity.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by grants R01DK61912, R01DK61973, and P30DK60456 from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, grants R34MH077571, R01MH059674, and T32MH082761 from the National Institute of Mental Health, and the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute.
Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.
- anorexia nervosa
- binge eating disorder
- bulimia nervosa
- eating disorders