Background. Overvaluation of body shape/weight is thought to be the core psychopathology underlying eating disorders, which propels engagement in non-compensatory weight-control behaviors. In turn, these behaviors lead to binge eating and/or maintenance of low weight thereby reinforcing overvaluation. The present study investigated the reciprocal relationship between overvaluation and engagement in non-compensatory weight-control behaviors (defined in two ways: restrictive eating and compulsive exercise) among women diagnosed with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa (N = 237). Method. Participants completed clinical interviews in which weekly eating disorder symptoms and behaviors were assessed over 2 years. Results. Overvaluation on a given week was associated with greater engagement in non-compensatory weight-control behaviors during the following week. Further, engagement in non-compensatory weight-control behaviors on a given week was associated with greater overvaluation during the following week. These findings held true regardless of participants' shape/weight concerns (feelings of fatness and fat phobia), and eating disorder diagnosis. Conclusions. Our data provide empirical support for key aspects of the transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioral model of eating disorders and suggest that targeting non-compensatory weight-control behaviors in treatment may help alleviate overvaluation and shape/weight concerns.

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Keywords Anorexia nervosa, body image, bulimia nervosa, cognitive-behavioral therapy, eating disorders
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0033291715000896
Journal Psychological Medicine
Citation
Tabri, N, Murray, H.B. (H. B.), Thomas, J.J. (J. J.), Franko, D.L. (D. L.), Herzog, D.B. (D. B.), & Eddy, K.T. (K. T.). (2015). Overvaluation of body shape/weight and engagement in non-compensatory weight-control behaviors in eating disorders: Is there a reciprocal relationship?. Psychological Medicine, 45(14), 2951–2958. doi:10.1017/S0033291715000896