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Abstract LOW EMOTION DIFFERENTIATION: AN AFFECTIVE RISK FACTOR FOR BINGE EATING?
Megan E. Mikhail1, Pamela K. Keel2, S. Alexandra Burt1, Michael Neale3, Steven Boker4, Kelly L. Klump1
1Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, United States/2Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, United States/3Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, United States/4University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, United States

Introduction: Emotion differentiation, a person’s tendency to experience discrete emotions (e.g., feeling angry) as opposed to vague affective states (e.g., feeling “bad”), is theorized to help people respond adaptively to emotion-eliciting experiences. While affect has been shown to play a role in binge eating, the association between emotion differentiation and binge eating phenotypes has yet to be investigated. We therefore examined whether women low in emotion differentiation are more prone to binge eating and emotional eating after controlling for overall affect. Methods: Female twins (n = 475) from the Michigan State University Twin Registry rated their experience of 10 negative and 10 positive emotions and emotional eating (EE) daily for 45 days. Measures of trait negative and positive emotion differentiation (NED and PED) were created by calculating the variance of a participant’s ratings of distinct negative emotions (e.g., irritable, scared, etc.) on a given day, then averaging these daily values across the study. Lifetime history of objective binge eating (OBE) was assessed using the SCID-5. Results: After controlling for negative affect, positive affect, and BMI, both NED (β = -.23, p = .006) and PED (β = -.09, p = .043) were independently associated with lower EE. NED was also associated with a reduced likelihood of lifetime OBE (OR = .38, p = .049). Conclusions: Low emotion differentiation may be a risk factor for binge eating phenotypes.

Category
Psychological