Cognitive Schemas and Eating Disorder Risk: the Role of Distress Tolerance

  • Lindsey HovrudEmail author
  • Raluca Simons
  • Jeffrey Simons


The current study tested the role of distress tolerance between cognitive schemas (emotional inhibition, defectiveness/shame, social isolation, and insufficient self-control) and eating disorder (ED) risk in a sample of 469 college students via structural equation analysis. While research indicates maladaptive cognitive schemas are positively associated with dysregulated eating, mechanisms of this relationship are not well established. Distress tolerance has been consistently associated with bulimia behaviors and body dissatisfaction; however, few studies have evaluated the role of distress tolerance in relation to cognitive schemas. In the current study, distress tolerance mediated associations between specific schemas of social isolation and insufficient self-control and eating disorder risk. These findings provide preliminary evidence suggesting specific cognitive schemas may contribute to low distress tolerance, which increases risk of ED-related behaviors and cognitions.


Eating disorder risk Eating disorders Cognitive schemas Distress tolerance Emotional dysregulation 


Funding Information

This study was funded by The University Research Fellowship and the Department of Psychology.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

Authors Lindsey Hovrud, Raluca Simons, and Jeffrey Simons declare they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors

Informed Consent

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


None of the funding sources had a role in the study design, collection, analysis or interpretation of the data, writing the manuscript, or the decision to submit the paper for publication.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of South DakotaVermillionUSA

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