Perfectionism, emotion dysregulation, and affective disturbance in relation to clinical impairment in college-age women at high risk for or with eating disorders

Meghan E. Byrne, Dawn M. Eichen, Ellen E. Fitzsimmons-Craft, C. Barr Taylor, Denise E. Wilfley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Individuals with eating disorders (EDs) demonstrate impaired quality of life; however, less than one-third report severe clinical impairment. Thus, it is important to determine factors that may identify those who are most likely to report marked impairment. Perfectionism, emotion dysregulation, and aspects of affective disturbance, such as anxiety and depression, are independently associated with eating pathology and clinical impairment in eating and other disorders. However, little research has explored these three factors concurrently in relation to eating pathology. It is possible that the combined interaction effect of these constructs could be especially harmful. The current study examined the influence of these constructs and their interactions on clinical impairment in college-aged women at high risk for or with a DSM-5 clinical or subclinical ED. Although the three-way interaction of perfectionism, emotion dysregulation, and affective disturbance (i.e., anxiety or depression) was not significant, the two-way interaction between perfectionism and emotion dysregulation was significant such that those who were high in both perfectionism and emotion dysregulation reported the highest levels of clinical impairment. This suggests that the combination of perfectionism and emotion dysregulation may be especially problematic for those with or at high risk for EDs. Interestingly, perfectionism alone was not a predictor of clinical impairment when accounting for the other constructs, implying that perfectionism may have a greater impact when in conjunction with emotion dysregulation. Understanding the impact of combined perfectionistic tendencies and emotion dysregulation on clinical impairment may better inform treatment and more directly target contributors to impaired quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-136
Number of pages6
JournalEating Behaviors
Volume23
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Clinical impairment
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Emotion regulation
  • Perfectionism

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