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Negative affect and eating psychopathology: the moderator effect of gender

Abstract

Purpose

This study examined the moderator role of gender in the relationship between negative affect and eating psychopathology as well as gender differences in these variables.

Methods

A community sample of 285 students (61.8% females), aged 13–25, was recruited in middle and high schools and universities. They filled instruments that assess negative affect and eating disordered symptoms (restraint, eating concern, shape concern, weight concern, and global scale).

Results

Females scored higher both in all subscales and the global scale of eating psychopathology. The restraint subscale was the only subscale showing non-significant differences between females and males. Controlling for BMI, moderation analyses revealed that gender moderated the relationship between negative affect and eating psychopathology, except for restraint behavior.

Conclusions

To deal with negative affect, females engage in more cognitive symptoms associated with disordered eating than males, but both endorse equally in eating restraint. These findings suggest that interventions focused on emotion regulation could help to reduce eating disordered symptoms among females and males.

Level of evidence

Level V, cross-sectional descriptive study.

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Funding

The authors did not receive any form of funding.

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Correspondence to Cristiana Marques.

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Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

The present study has been approved by the Portuguese Data Protection Authority (authorization no. 566/2017). 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.

Informed consent

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

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Cite this article

Marques, C., Santos, T., Martins, M.J. et al. Negative affect and eating psychopathology: the moderator effect of gender. Eat Weight Disord 24, 879–885 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40519-018-0598-7

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Keywords

  • Gender
  • Negative affect
  • Eating psychopathology
  • Moderation