Difficulties in emotion regulation across the spectrum of eating disorders

Timo Brockmeyer, Mandy Skunde, Mudan Wu, Esther Bresslein, Gottfried Rudofsky, Wolfgang Herzog, Hans-Christoph Friederich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

193 Citations (Scopus)


Theoretical models consider difficulties in emotion regulation (ER) as central trans-diagnostic phenomena across the spectrum of eating disorders (ED). However, there is a lack of studies directly comparing ED subtypes regarding ER problems. Furthermore, patients with anorexia nervosa-restricting type (AN-R) and patients with AN-binge/purge type (AN-BP) have usually been merged into one overall AN group in previous research on ER. In order to overcome these limitations of previous studies, the present study investigated specific ER difficulties in 120 patients with different ED subtypes, including AN-R, AN-BP, bulimia nervosa (BN), and binge-eating disorder (BED). As compared to 60 healthy normal-weight controls (NWC) and 29 healthy over-weight controls (OWC), all ED subtypes reported greater difficulties in ER. ED subtypes did not differ regarding most domains of ER except BED showing less severe ER difficulties in some domains. In addition, AN-BP but not BN reported greater impulse control difficulties than AN-R and BED. The findings underscore the relevance of ER difficulties in ED and support the trans-diagnostic view of ER difficulties being present across the whole spectrum of ED. In addition, the present results suggest that certain domains of ER may be linked more closely to certain ED subtypes than to others.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-71
Number of pages7
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Emotions
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult


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