How can the recall of early affiliative memories with peers influence on disordered eating behaviours?

  • Ana Laura MendesEmail author
  • Joana Marta-Simões
  • Cláudia Ferreira
Original Article


The present study aimed to explore the role of early affiliative memories with peers on the adoption of disordered eating attitudes and behaviours through the mechanisms of external shame and self-judgment. The sample used in the current study comprised 632 women from the community, aged between 18 and 60 years old.The tested model explained 22 % of eating psychopathology’s variance and showed excellent model fit indices. Results indicated that the impact of the recall of early positive memories with peers on eating psychopathology was fully carried through the mechanisms of external shame and self-judgment. In fact, these findings seem to suggest that the lack of warm and safe affiliative memories with peers is linked to higher levels of shame (e.g., feelings of inferiority and inadequacy), and also to higher vulnerability to engage in maladaptive emotional strategies (such as self-judgmental attitudes), which appears to explain the increase of disordered eating behaviours.These findings contribute to the understanding of the impact of peer-related early affiliative memories in the engagement in disordered eating. Furthermore, this study has significant clinical implications, emphasizing the importance of targeting shame and maladaptive emotional strategies, especially in a context involving early adverse emotional experiences with peers.


Early affiliative memories Peer relationships External shame Self-judgment Eating psychopathology 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors of this manuscript declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Psychology and Education SciencesUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  2. 2.CINNEIC, Cognitive - Behavioral Research Center, Faculty of Psychology and Educational SciencesUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal

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