Multi-method evidence for a dual-pathway perspective of self-regulation in loss of control over eating among adolescents.

Eva Van Malderen, Lien Goossens, Sandra Verbeken, Eva Kemps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Dual-pathway models propose that loss of control over eating (LOC) is the result of an imbalance between weaker regulatory and stronger reactive processes. However, these processes are generally captured with only one assessment method, leading to mixed findings. Additionally, it is unclear whether regulatory difficulties are generic or food-specific. Therefore, the aim of this study was twofold: (1) to investigate the interaction between regulatory and reactive processes in predicting the presence of LOC in adolescents, using both self-report questionnaires and behavioral tasks, and (2) to examine whether generic or food-specific regulatory processes interact with reactive processes to predict the presence of LOC.
A community sample of 295 adolescents (10–17 years; 67.2% girls; M = 13 years; SD = 1.99) was allocated to a LOC-Group (n = 93) or a NoLOC-Group (n = 202) based on a self-report questionnaire which assessed whether participants had experienced LOC over the past month (Children's Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire). Both self-report questionnaires and behavioral tasks were used to measure regulatory (Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function and go/no-go task, respectively) and reactive (Behavioral Activation Scale and dot probe task, respectively) processes. Some adolescents completed a generic go/no-go task and others a food-specific version. Binary logistic regressions were conducted with LOC as the categorical dependent variable and regulatory and reactive processes (and their interaction) as the independent variables.
In line with dual-pathway models, the combination of weaker regulatory and stronger reactive processes was associated with the presence of LOC. This was evident from both the self-report scales and the behavioral tasks. Preliminary results further suggest that regulatory difficulties seem to be food-specific.
Our results provide multi-method evidence for the dual-pathway account of self-regulation in LOC among adolescents. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104729
Early online date6 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • Adolescents
  • Loss of control over eating
  • Dual-pathway perspective
  • Regulatory process
  • Reactive processes
  • Regulatory processes
  • Loss of control over eating


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