Individual differences in negative affect and weekly variability in binge eating frequency


  • Mary E. Zander MA,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychology, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota
    • Correspondence to: Mary Zander, Department of Psychology, Graduate Student, University of North Dakota, 319 Harvard St., Stop 8380, Grand Forks, ND 58202, USA. E-mail:

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  • Kyle P. De Young PhD

    1. Department of Psychology, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota
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  • Sex was added to the model as a covariate in a supplemental analysis, but there was no main effect of sex (Wald χ2 = 1.48, p < 0.288) and the inclusion of sex did not change the nature of the interactions.



To examine the relationship of neuroticism and negative affect (NA) lability with weekly binge eating fluctuations between binge eating disorder (BED) and bulimia nervosa (BN).


Individuals with BED (n = 30) and BN (n = 54) from the community completed self-report measures at baseline and prospectively for 12 consecutive weeks. Weekly data were analyzed by using (mean) squared successive deviation to account for fluctuations in NA and binge eating from week to week.


Generalized estimating equations revealed the presence of a two-way interaction between neuroticism and NA lability predicting binge eating fluctuations (Wald χ2 = 8.25; df = 1; p = .004), indicating that higher NA lability was only related to larger fluctuations in the frequency of binge eating episodes when present in individuals who were also high on neuroticism. An interaction was also detected between eating disorder diagnosis and NA lability, but this was accounted for by differences in average NA between the diagnoses.


This study highlights the relevance of two traits and their interaction in understanding individual differences in binge eating fluctuations. Additionally, findings indicate that diagnostic differences in average NA may impact binge eating fluctuations and NA lability. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2014; 47:296–301)