Self-injury and disordered eating: expressing emotion dysregulation through the body.
Muehlenkamp, J.~~Peat, C.~~et al.
Previous research has suggested that emotion dysregulation, body-related concerns, and depressive symptoms are associated with nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) and disordered eating (DE) separately and in combination. However, it has been difficult to ascertain to what extent these constructs contribute to NSSI and DE given the relatively small number of studies examining their co-occurrence, particularly among nonclinical samples. Based on responses to self-report questionnaires, college-aged women who completed the study were divided into three groups: NSSI only; DE only; and NSSI + DE based on clinical cutoff criteria. Results support hypotheses that emotion dysregulation is a shared vulnerability and that body-related concerns and depression exhibit unique patterns of association across the three groups. It appears that NSSI is best understood as a response to negative affective states relative to DE, which is best understood as a set of behaviors motivated by body image concerns. The presence of both NSSI and DE is primarily influenced by emotion dysregulation and the dominant difficulties linked to each behavior; depression and body dissatisfaction. These findings suggest that treatment and prevention efforts should emphasize emotion regulation skills and differentially target body concerns or depressive symptoms according to the primary behavioral dysfunction that is present.
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