Subclinical eating disorder symptoms and positive vs. negative affect in high school students: the mediating role of self-regulation
More details
Hide details
SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Wroclaw, Poland
Submission date: 2018-09-04
Final revision date: 2019-01-25
Acceptance date: 2019-01-30
Online publication date: 2019-02-21
Publication date: 2019-06-24
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2019;7(2):120-131
Subclinical symptoms of eating disorders (ED) appear early, and adolescents still represent a specific risk group. Are there strat-egies of self-regulation which can protect adolescents against severe symptoms? We investigated differential mediators between subclinical eating disorder symptoms and negative vs. positive affect in adolescents.

Participants and procedure:
Data were collected twice. Adolescents (ages 17-18, N = 98) filled in the Eating Disorders Inventory (EDI-2), the Volitional Competences Questionnaire (VCQ), the Personality Style and Disorders Inventory (PSDI) and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedules (PANAS). We postulated two different serial multiple mediation models originating in eating disorders, one leading to negative affect (through depressive personality style and self-motivation) and the other leading to positive affect (through self-regulation competences: self-relaxation and self-motivation).

The serial multiple mediation models were confirmed, with the postulated variables serving as mediators of positive and negative affect. In addition to body dissatisfaction, there were two additional predictors for positive affect (ineffectiveness and social insecurity) and five predictors for negative affect (drive for thinness, bulimia, perfectionism, interoceptive awareness, asceti-cism).

These experiences of eating disorders are associated with affect, through self-regulation of emotion (self-motivation), which along with depression or self-relaxation leads to either a decrease in the negative affect or an increase in the positive affect. Self-regulation is an important factor in preventing eating disorders and protecting the overall emotional well-being in high school students.

Baumann, N., Kaschel, R., & Kuhl, J. (2007). Affect sensitivity and affect regulation in dealing with positive and negative affect. Journal of Research in Personality, 41, 239–248. doi: 10.1016/j.jrp.2006.05.002.
Blasczyk-Schiep, S. (2004). Selbssteuerung und Suizidrisiko [Self-regulation and suicidal risk] (pp. 88–102). Bern: Peter Lang.
Blasczyk-Schiep, S., Sokoła, K., Fila-Witecka, K., & Kazén, M. (2016). Are all fashion models susceptible to dysfunctional cognitions about eating and body image? The moderating role of personality styles. Eating and Weight Disorders, 21, 211–220. doi: 10.1007/s40519-015-0228-6.
Campos-Uscanga, Y., Gutiérrez-Ospina, G., Morales-Romero, J., & Romo-González, T. (2016). Self-regulation of eating and physical activity is lower in obese female college students as compared to their normal weight counterparts. Eating and Weight Disorders, 22, 311–319. doi: 10.1007/s40519-016-0338-9.
Cardi, V., Leppanen, J., & Treasure, J. (2015). The effects of negative and positive mood induction on eating behaviour: A meta-analysis of laboratory studies in the healthy population and eating and weight disorders. Neuroscience Biobehavioral Review, 57, 299–309). doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2015.08.011.
Czepczor, K., Kościcka, K., & Brytek-Matera, A. (2016). Społeczno-kulturowe postawy wobec własnego wyglą-du i niezadowolenie z ciała u kobiet i mężczyzn w okresie późnej adolescencji: badania wstępne [The soci-ocultural attitudes towards appearance and body dissatisfaction among late adolescence: pilot study]. Pol-skie Forum Psychologiczne, 21, 364–377.
Dancyger, I. F., & Garfinkel, P. E. (1995). The relationship of partial syndrome eating disorders to anorexia ner-vosa and bulimia nervosa. Psychological Medicine, 25, 1019–1025.
de Jong-Meyer, R., Schmitz, S., Ehlker, M., Greis, S., Hinsken, U., Sonnen, B., & Dickhöver, N. (1999). Hand-lungsorientierte Interaktionsbeiträge in verschiedenen Therapien: Prozeßsteuerung und Erfolgsrelevanz [Ac-tion-oriented contributions to interaction in various therapies: process control and success relevance]. Zeit-schrift für Kilnische Psycholologie, Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, 47, 172–190.
Fajkowska, M., & Marszał-Wiśniewska, M. (2009). Właściwości psychometryczne Skali Pozytywnego i Nega-tywnego Afektu – Wersja Rozszerzona (PANAS-X). Wstępne wyniki badań w polskiej próbie [Psychometric properties of the Positive and Negative Affect Scale – Extended Version (PANAS-X). Preliminary results of tests in the Polish sample]. Przegląd Psychologiczny, 52, 355–388.
Forbes, G. B., Jung, J., Vaamonde, J. D., Omar, A., Paris, L., & Formiga N. S. (2012). Body dissatisfaction and disordered eating in three cultures: Argentina, Brazil, and the U.S. Sex Roles, 66, 677–694. doi: 10.1007/s11199-011-0105-3.
Garner, D. M. (1991). Eating Disorder Inventory-2. Professional Manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assess-ment Resources.
Graber, J. A., Tyrka, A. R., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2003). How similar are correlates of difference subclinical eating problems and bulimia nervosa? Journal of Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry, 44, 262–273.
Greeno, C. G., Wing, R. R., & Shiffman, S. (2000). Binge antecedents in obese women with and without Binge Eating Disorder. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1, 95–102.
Gross, J. J. (2002). Emotion regulation: affective, cognitive, and social consequences. Psychophysiology, 39, 281–291. doi: 10.1017.S0048577201393198.
Harrison, A., Sulivan, S., Tchantria, K., & Treasure, J. (2010). Emotional functioning in eating disorders: atten-tional bias, emotion recognition and emotion regulation. Psychological Medicine, 40, 1887–1987.
Hautzinger, M. (1994). Action and state orientation in the context of psychopathological disorders. In J. Kuhl & J. Beckmann (Eds.), Volition and personality: Action vs state orientation (pp. 209–213). Göttingen: Hogrefe.
Hayes, A. F. (2012). PROCESS: A versatile computational tool for observed variable mediation, moderation, and conditional process modeling. Retrieved from
Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to Mediation, Moderation, and Conditional Process Analysis: A Regression-Based Approach. New York: The Guilford Press.
Herpertz-Dahlmann, B., Wille, N., Hölling, H., Vloet, T. D., & Ravens-Sieberer, U. (2008). BELLA study group: Disordered eating behavior and attitudes, associated psychopathology and health-related quality of life: re-sults of the BELLA study. European Child and Adolescents Psychiatry, 1, 82–91.
Hoek, H. W. (2006). Incidence, prevalence and mortality of anorexia nervosa and other Eating disorders. Cur-rant Opinion in Psychiatry, 19, 389–394.
Kitsantas, A., Gilligan, T. D., & Kamata, A. (2003). College Women with Eating Disorders: Self-Regulation, Life Satisfaction, and Positive/Negative Affect. Journal of Psychology, 4, 381–395. doi: 10.1080/00223980309600622.
Kuhl, J. (1994). Action and state orientation: Psychometric properties of the action control scales (ACS-90). In J. Kuhl & J. Beckmann (Eds.), Volition and personality: Action versus state orientation (pp. 47–59). Göttin-gen: Hogrefe.
Kuhl, J. (2001). Motivation und Persönlichkeit [Motivation and Personality]. Göttingen: Hogrefe.
Kuhl, J., & Fuhrmann, A. (1998). Decomposing self-regulation and self-control: The Volitional Components In-ventory. In J. Heckhausen & C. S. Dweck (Eds.), Motivation and self-regulation across the life span (pp. 15–49). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Kuhl, J., & Kazén, M. (1999). Volitional facilitation of difficult intentions: Joint activation of intention memory and positive affect removes Stroop interference. Journal of Experimental Psychology General, 128, 382–399. doi: 10.1037/0096-3445.128.3.382.
Kuhl, J., & Kazén, M. (2009). Das Persönlichkeits-Stil-und-Störungs-Inventar (PSSI): Handanweisung, 2. Auf-lage [The Personality Style and Disorders Inventory (PSDI): Hand instruction, 2nd edition]. Göttingen: Hogrefe.
Lavender, J. M., Mason, T. B., Utzinger, L. M., Wonderlich, S. A., Crosby, R. D., Engel, S. G., Mitchell, J. E., Le Grange, D., Crow, S. J., & Peterson, C. B. (2016). Examining effect and perfectionism in relation to eating dis-order symptoms among women with anorexia nervosa. Psychiatry Research, 241, 267–272. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2016.04.122.
Legenbauer, T., & Vocks, S. (2014). Manual der kognitiven Verhaltenstherapie bei Anorexie und Bulimie [Manual of cognitive behavioral therapy for anorexia and bulimia]. Berlin: Springer.
MacKinnon, D. P. (2008). Introduction to statistical mediation analysis. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Nishizawa, Y., Kida, K., Nishizawa, K., Hashiba, S., Saito, K., & Mita, R. (2003). Perception of self-physique and eating behavior of high school students in Japan. Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 57, 189–196.
Svaldi, J., Griepenstroh, J., Tuschen-Caffier, B., & Ehring, T. (2012). Emotion regulation deficits in eating disor-ders: a marker of eating pathology or general psychopathology? Psychiatry Research, 197, 103–111 doi: 10.1002/erv.2288.
Tuschen-Caffier, B., Vögele, C., Bracht, S., & Hilbert, C. (2003). Psychological responses to body shape expo-sure in patients with bulimia nervosa. Behavioral Research and Therapy, 41, 573–586.
Tylka, T. L., & Subich, L. M. (1999). Exploring the construct validity of the eating disorder continuum. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 46, 268–276.
Vocks, S., Wachter, A., Wucherer, M., & Kosfelder, J. (2008). Look at yourself: Can body image therapy affect the cognitive and emotional response to seeing oneself in the mirror in eating disorders? European Eating Disorders Review, 16, 147–154. doi: 10.1002/erv.825.
Waters, A., Hill, A., & Waller, G. (2001). Bulimics` responses to food cravings: Is binge-eating a product of hun-ger or emotional state? Behavior Research and Therapy, 39, 877–886.
Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: the PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1063–1070. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.54.6.1063.
Wegner, K. M., Smyth, J. M., Crosby, R. D., Wittrock, D., Wonderlich, S. A., & Mitchel, J. E. (2002). An evalua-tion of the relationship between mood and binge eating in the neutral environment using ecological momen-tary assessment. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 30, 53–60. doi: 10.1002/eat.10086.
Ziółkowska, B. (2005). Anoreksja od A do Z. Podręcznik dla nauczycieli i wychowawców [Anorexia from A to Z. Manual for teachers and educators]. Warszawa: Scholar.
Copyright: © Institute of Psychology, University of Gdansk This is an Open Access journal, all articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) License (, allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top