Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology, Clinical-Community

Date of Defense

7-17-2014

Graduate Advisor

Kamila S. White, PhD

Committee

Steven Bruce, PhD

Zoe Peterson, PhD

Susan Kashubeck-West, PhD

Abstract

Binge eating is an impairing and prevalent problem. Theories of binge eating suggest negative affect is of primary importance in the development and maintenance of binge eating behavior. To date, investigations of binge eating have often examined depression, however relatively little is known about other psychological factors. The current study aimed to extend the literature by examining several psychological factors in relation to binge eating behavior. Specifically, the relation between binge eating behavior and three psychological factors, depression, anxiety and stress, were examined. Data were collected via online surveys from a community sample of men and women of diverse backgrounds. The main study hypotheses were supported, indicating a unique relation between anxiety and binge eating, and between stress and binge eating, independent of the impact of depression. Additionally, secondary analyses supported the role of cognitive avoidance as a mediator in the relation of anxiety and binge eating. Hostility was also examined in relation to binge eating. The results of this study suggest a need for greater inclusivity (i.e., anxiety, stress) of dimensions of negative affect in examinations of binge eating. Further, focused attention regarding the role of anxiety may be important for future binge eating research.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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