Date of Award

Summer 8-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Committee Chair

Dr. Bradley Green

Committee Chair Department

Psychology

Committee Member 2

Dr. Randolph Arnau

Committee Member 2 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 3

Dr. Michael Anestis

Committee Member 3 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 4

Dr. Richard Mohn

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

The current study examined the impact of specific forms of shame on severity of specific disordered eating behaviors, after controlling for depression and guilt, among women who engaged in restricting, binge-eating, purging/compensatory behaviors, or binge eating and purging in combination. Additionally, the study examined whether self-compassion and emotion regulation mediated the relation between various forms of shame and disordered eating severity. Finally, the study piloted an internet-based method of self-compassion induction. Participants (N = 518) were a convenience sample of women recruited from websites associated with eating disorders, who reported engagement in at least one disordered eating behavior in the prior month. Results suggested that in women who engaged in only binge-eating (n = 109), binge eating severity was predicted by depression and eating-related shame. Among women who engaged in only purging/compensatory behaviors (n = 68), guilt, externalized shame, and internalized bodily shame were predictive of purging severity at the trend level. Among women who engaged in a combination of binge-eating and purging (n = 304), binge-eating/purging severity was predicted by both guilt and eating-related shame, although the relationship with guilt was no longer significant after accounting for eating-related shame. Regression analyses were too underpowered to detect effects among women who engaged in caloric restriction alone (n = 37); however, correlational data suggested moderate relationships between restriction severity and internalized bodily, eating-related, externalized general, and externalized bodily shame. Emotion regulation partially mediated the relation between eating-related shame and binge-eating/purging severity; however, no other significant relationships between specific types of shame and disordered eating severity were mediated by either emotion regulation or self-compassion. Finally, the internet-based self-compassion induction administered at the end of the study resulted in significantly decreased levels of all five forms of shame, compared to levels of shame at baseline and following a shame prime.

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