The 2018 National Eating Disorders and Obesity Conference will be held at Twin Towns Services Club over 27-28 September.
Joining us at this year’s conference is Miss Alexandra Griffin, Postgraduate Doctorate Student at Deakin University who will present on ‘Maladaptive Emotion Regulation in Eating Disorders: An Ecological Momentary Assessment Study’.
Individuals with an eating disorder (ED) often experience a poor ability to manage and regulate their own emotions, in particular when experiencing distress or discomfort. Studies have indicated that difficulties in tolerating distress, in the presence of negative affect results in high levels of rumination in those with an eating disorder. To date, most studies examining the role of rumination in ED use cross-sectional designs and non-clinical samples. Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) has been demonstrated to be an effective measurement tool to examine state changes in affect and behaviour in a more ecologically relevant way. This study will examine emotion regulation strategies within individuals with an ED, using real-time data.
It was hypothesised that individuals are more likely to self-report binge/purge behaviour following high negative affect and high engagement in rumination.
It was predicted that distress tolerance would have a negative moderating effect on the relationship between rumination and binge/purge behaviour. It was further hypothesised that individuals who report higher negative affect and low distress tolerance as seen at time one, will report higher levels of rumination at the sequential time periods and engage in self-reported binge/purge behaviour across further time points.
An EMA design was utilised with 28 participants with current eating disorder diagnoses (BED n = 15, BN n = 8, OSFED n = 5) from an Australian sample. Participants completed a semi-structured diagnostic interview and a battery of questionnaires prior to enrolling in the EMA study. EMA notifications were delivered to participants smartphones 4 times per day, across 14 days.
Average response rate to the EMA was high (89%) and findings addressing the hypotheses above will be presented. This unique data set could lead to a greater understanding of the complex relationship between ED, negative affect and the use of maladaptive emotion regulation strategies such as rumination.
Whilst results are still being compiled (and will be available in time for the conference), we anticipate that this research will:
1. Enhance the existing literature examining rumination specific to eating disorder presentations.
2. Improve our understanding of the relationship between maladaptive emotion regulation strategies and binge/purge behaviour.
3. Assist early intervention and treatment planning through investigation of real-time data within an Australian clinical sample.
I am currently completing my Doctorate of Psychology (Clinical) at Deakin University. My research is focused on investigating emotion regulation in eating disorder presentations. Through utilising ecological momentary assessment, I have attempted to further develop the current understanding of binge and purge behaviours in relation to rumination specific to this population. This research will add to the existing body of knowledge informing interventions in this area. My passion for research in this area of mental health has been supported through a variety of clinical work involving a specialist eating disorder team and volunteering with Eating Disorders Victoria.
For more information on the upcoming 2018 National Eating Disorders and Obesity Conference and to register your place please visit eatingdisordersaustralia.org.au