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Keywords:

  • binge eating;
  • eating disorders;
  • interpersonal problems;
  • affiliation;
  • negative affect

Abstract

Objective:

This study examined the interpersonal model of binge eating (Wilfley et al., Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Group, New York: Basic Books, 2000; Wilfley et al., Arch Gen Psychiatry, 8, 713–721, 2002; Elliott et al., Behav Res Ther, 48, 424–428, 2010) which posits that interpersonal problems lead to negative affect which, in turn, triggers disordered eating.

Method:

The model was tested using data from 350 women obtained via an internet assessment method. Analyses examined direct and indirect effects, via depressive/negative affect, of interpersonal problems, including domains of affiliation and dominance on loss of control over eating, binge eating, and eating disorder psychopathology.

Results:

Interpersonal problems showed significant effects on binge eating and eating disorder psychopathology that were statistically mediated by depressive/negative affect. Affiliation showed significant effects on binge eating and eating disorder psychopathology with low affiliation effects statistically mediated by depressive/negative affect and high affiliation effects independent of depressive/negative affect.

Discussion:

These findings support the interpersonal model of binge eating and highlight the importance of examining specific types of interpersonal problems in understanding heterogeneity of individuals with eating disorder psychopathology. © 2011 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2012)