An Experimental Investigation of Verbal Expression of Emotion in Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa

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Abstract

Objective This study aims to use an experimental design to investigate verbal expression of emotion in anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN). Method Forty-two patients with AN, 26 patients with BN and 34 healthy controls (HCs) were videoed talking about discrete emotional experiences. Talks were analysed using the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count. Participants also completed the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ). 

Results People with AN used fewer words when describing their emotional experiences and fewer positive affect words than HCs. People with BN were indistinguishable from HCs. Both ED groups had higher scores on the suppression subscale of the ERQ compared with HCs. Suppression was negatively correlated with negative verbal expression. Discussion This study highlights differences between AN and BN in emotion expression. It supports a model of AN, which highlights emotion inhibition as a maintaining factor of the illness. Methods of emotion regulation in EDs may contribute to increased negative mood and poorer social functioning. Copyright (C) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476-483
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Eating Disorders Review
Volume20
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012

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