Evaluating the indirect effect of self-compassion on binge eating severity through cognitive-affective self-regulatory pathways.

Abstract

Current theory and evidence point to disruptions in self-concept and difficulties with emotion regulation as contributing to the severity of binge eating. Alternatively, contemporary perspectives on self-compassion suggest that individual differences in this adaptive approach to self-regulation may serve to counteract these cognitive-affective triggers presumably resulting in reductions in binge eating severity. Accordingly, the present cross-sectional analysis examined an indirect effect model of positive dimensions of self-compassion on binge eating severity through both emotional tolerance and unconditional self-acceptance pathways. Two hundred fifteen undergraduate students (78% female) completed self-report measures of the variables of interest; BMI was calculated from self-reported heights and weights. Pearson's correlations revealed a positive linear association between self-compassion and unconditional self-acceptance; negative links were observed between self-compassion and emotional intolerance along with the severity of binge eating symptoms. A subsequent multiple mediator analysis utilizing both normal test theory and robust non-parametric bootstrap resampling procedures confirmed the presence of a significant total indirect effect of self-compassion on binge eating severity (-.15, p<0.001) through the combined mediators along with yielding specific indirect effects for both emotional tolerance (-.05, p<0.05) and unconditional self-acceptance (-.11, p<0.01) which were preserved in a model adjusted for BMI. Preliminary results underscore the need to further evaluate the tenability of this model in both prospective cohort and intervention-based research. Findings additionally invite considering the value of integrating self-compassion training into college health promotion efforts towards mitigating the appreciable levels of binge eating behavior prevalent in this at-risk population.

DOI: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2012.12.005

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Cite this paper

@article{Webb2013EvaluatingTI, title={Evaluating the indirect effect of self-compassion on binge eating severity through cognitive-affective self-regulatory pathways.}, author={Jennifer B. Webb and Mallory J Forman}, journal={Eating behaviors}, year={2013}, volume={14 2}, pages={224-8} }