Abstract and Keywords
Conflict between competing motivations, as is particularly likely to occur in complex social situations, provides the primary basis for the need to regulate emotions. In this chapter, we argue that, rather than being somehow deficient in the perception or experience of emotions, individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN) are masters of emotion regulation, employing a variety of strategies in the service of rigid goal pursuit. We review what is known about the subjective experience of emotion, as well as the development of emotion regulation in AN. A review of the various emotion regulation strategies that have been studied to date provides the basis for generating specific hypotheses about the possible dynamics and development of emotion regulation in AN. It seems likely that the highly rigid deployment of specific regulation strategies through much of childhood leaves those individuals vulnerable to developing AN deficient in their ability both to contextualize their emotional experience and to adequately cope with the changing social demands of adolescence and young adulthood. Nonetheless, few studies have analyzed the development of emotional experience and regulation in AN longitudinally.
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