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Keywords:

  • children;
  • binge eating;
  • emotion regulation;
  • psychopathology;
  • eating disorders

Abstract

Objective:

To examine the ability to regulate emotions in children with binge eating.

Method:

A community sample of 60 children ages 8–13 with at least one episode of loss of control (LOC) eating during the past 3 months and a matched control group without LOC (n = 60) underwent a clinical interview (Eating Disorder Examination adapted for Children) and completed self-report questionnaires assessing emotion regulation strategies, eating pathology, and depressive symptoms.

Results:

Children with LOC eating made a significantly higher use of dysfunctional emotion regulation strategies (p < .01), especially for the regulation of anxiety (p < .01). Maladaptive strategies were associated with greater depressiveness (p < .001). Use of adaptive emotion regulation strategies did not differ between children with and without LOC eating.

Discussion:

Results document an association between LOC eating and difficulties in regulating negative emotions in children. Interventions targeting LOC eating in children should include training for coping with negative emotions. © 2008 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2009