Understanding the link between body image and binge eating: a model comparison approach

  • Millicent Holmes
  • Matthew Fuller-TyszkiewiczEmail author
  • Helen Skouteris
  • Jaclyn Broadbent
Original Article



The present study tests several competing, explanatory models—dual pathways, escape from awareness, and objectification theory—for the established link between body dissatisfaction and binge eating.


408 women aged between 18 and 40 years completed a survey designed to assess contributions of proposed mediators (dietary restraint and negative affect from the dual pathway model, self-distraction from the escape from awareness model, and interoceptive deficits from objectification theory) for the body dissatisfaction–binge eating relationship.


Although mediation analyses supported the dual pathway model and objectification theory when tested separately, the dual pathway model most strongly predicted the body dissatisfaction–binge eating relationship. Both model-implied mediators (dietary restraint and negative affect) made significant unique contributions, accounting for roughly one-quarter of the shared variance between body dissatisfaction and binge eating when tested separately from other mediators. Improvements in variance explained were negligible once other proposed mediators were included in a test of models combined.


Collectively, these findings suggest the superiority of the dual pathway model over objectification theory and the escape model, but the remaining unaccounted for covariance suggests need to consider alternative mechanisms that may also account for the relationship between body dissatisfaction and binge eating.


Dual pathway model Escape from awareness Self-objectification Binge eating Body dissatisfaction 


Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Millicent Holmes
    • 1
  • Matthew Fuller-Tyszkiewicz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Helen Skouteris
    • 1
  • Jaclyn Broadbent
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyDeakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia

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