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Examination of the difficulties in emotion regulation scale and its relation to disordered eating in a young female sample




Difficulties with emotion regulation is considered an important maintaining factor of disordered eating. One of the most commonly used measures of this construct is the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS). The aim of this study was to explore the factor structure of this measure in young females and to examine its reliability and validity with respect to disordered eating.


Females aged 17–25 years (M age = 19.6 years, N = 486) were examined in the analyses. Confirmatory factor analyses were conducted followed by regression analyses examining the DERS subscales as predictors of eating disorder severity and disordered eating behaviors.


The original 6-factor 36-item model did not fit well and analyses indicated a 6-factor 30-item solution was a more suitable fit for our population. Validity and reliability of the 30-item solution were found to be acceptable. Regression analyses also indicated the 36- and 30-item models were able to adequately predict eating disorder severity and disordered eating behaviors with the “Awareness” and “Goals” subscales being predictors of the former, and the “Impulsivity” subscale being a significant predictor of the latter.


The overall findings suggest that an abbreviated version of the DERS might be more appropriate than the original version with young females and that this measure exhibits stronger relationships with eating disorder severity and disordered eating behaviors than the longer version. Further examinations of the psychometric properties of the DERS with clinical populations are indicated. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2014; 47:630–639)