Evidence suggests that emotion regulation may be a process relevant to problematic dietary restriction. However, emotion regulation has not been evaluated as an intervention target across a range of restriction severity. This study utilized an experimental design to examine whether targeting emotion regulation reduced problematic dietary restriction. Within a self-identified restrictive sample (n = 72), the effects of an emotion regulation condition (i.e., emotion regulation training) were compared to those of a control condition (i.e., nutrition information training) on dietary restriction indices (i.e., effort to reduce intake on a progressive ratio task, work towards an alternate reinforcer on a progressive ratio task, intake by dietary recall) following a stressor. Exploratory analyses of potential moderators (i.e., restraint, BMI, binge eating and purging status, emotion regulation difficulties) were conducted to examine whether these factors affected the impact of training on dietary restriction. No significant main effects of condition were detected on any outcome measure. However, results were moderated by BMI status. Participants with lower BMIs exerted less effort towards dietary restriction following the emotion regulation condition versus the control condition (p = 0.02). Results suggest that targeting emotion regulation may help to reduce problematic dietary restriction among lower weight individuals.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
AFH and AEF designed this study. AFH and BH were directly involved in study implementation; AEF supervised study procedures. All authors contributed to refinement of the study protocol, statistical analyses, and review of the manuscript. The authors do not have conflicts of interest to report. Research reported in this publication was supported by pre-doctoral training fellowship F31MH097450 and post-doctoral training fellowship T32MH082761 awarded by the National Institute of Mental Health . This funding source had no role in the study design, execution, analyses, interpretation of the data, or decision to submit results. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd.
- Dietary restriction
- Eating disorder anorexia nervosa
- Emotion regulation