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date: 25 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews evidence for the role of emotion dysregulation in the etiology and maintenance of eating disorders. It examines theoretical models that describe functional relations between emotions and eating disorder behaviors. Data from self-report questionnaire studies, ecological momentary assessment, and experimental research designs are considered, with a focus on identifying similarities and differences in emotion dysregulation across eating disorders. The chapter concludes by describing a model in which stable (i.e., trait) emotion regulation difficulties increase the likelihood of using maladaptive strategies, such as eating disorder behaviors, to regulate emotions. Future work must identify factors that predict whether someone will express trait emotion dysregulation as an eating disorder versus another psychiatric disorder, and whether emotion dysregulation maintains eating disorders and can be targeted in treatment.

Keywords: emotion dysregulation, emotion regulation, eating disorders, self-report, ecological momentary assessment, experimental research

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