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Title: Examining the Short-Term Longitudinal Relationships between Emotion Regulation and Addictive Behaviors among Community Women
Author: Farstad, Sarah
Advisor: von Ranson, Kristin
Keywords: Mental Health;Psychology--Clinical
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to compare deficits in emotion regulation that are associated with binge eating, food addiction, problem gambling, and substance abuse in order to elucidate similarities and differences between eating pathology and both behavioral addictions (i.e., gambling) and substance addictions (i.e., alcohol and drug abuse). Participants were 202 women from the community who engaged in at-risk binge eating (39%), at-risk gambling (18%), or both behaviors (43%). Participants completed online assessments every two months for six months. The baseline and six-month surveys assessed self-reported emotion dysregulation, binge eating, food addiction, gambling, and substance abuse. The abbreviated two- and four-month surveys assessed only binge eating and gambling. Study 1 compared the facets of emotion regulation that were longitudinally associated with binge eating and the only formally-recognized behavioral addiction, gambling. Emotion dysregulation was associated with increased binge eating and problem gambling but positive urgency had the opposite association to eating pathology versus gambling: higher scores on positive urgency were associated with more severe problem gambling yet slower increases in eating-related impairment over time. Study 2 compared the facets of emotion regulation that were cross-sectionally and longitudinally associated with food addiction and substance abuse. Negative urgency emerged as a common cross-sectional correlate of food addiction and substance abuse, whereas positive urgency and non-acceptance of one’s negative emotions had different associations to food addiction versus substance abuse. Positive urgency predicted increased odds of endorsing future substance abuse problems and decreased odds of endorsing future food addiction, whereas being unaccepting of one’s negative emotions was associated with more severe food addiction symptoms and less severe alcohol-related problems. Overall, these findings suggest that binge eating and food addiction are not associated with the same key deficits in emotion regulation as existing behavioral and substance addictions.
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