Journal article Open Access
Individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN) show emotion regulation deficits. While individuals with BN use binge eating to regulate negative affect, individuals with restricting-type AN may use self-starvation for this purpose. The current study examined the emotion regulatory function of over- and undereating in response to different emotional states in women with restrictive AN (n = 54), BN (n = 47), and women without eating disorders (n = 68). Participants completed self-report measures assessing the use of emotion regulation strategies and emotional eating. Both patient groups reported using more dysfunctional and less functional emotion regulation strategies than controls. The BN group reported eating more than usual in response to
negative emotions but less than usual in response to positive emotions. In contrast, the AN group reported eating more than usual in response to positive emotions and less than usual in response to negative emotions. More dysfunctional emotion regulation related to eating less in response to negative emotions in the AN group. Less functional emotion regulation related to eating less when being happy in the BN group. The current study highlights the need to differentiate between different eating outcomes and different emotional states when examining emotion effects on food intake.