Binge eating among adolescents is associated with negative developmental outcomes. From a cognitive perspective, the role of impaired self-regulation is increasingly emphasized as an underlying factor in binge eating, whereas the affect regulation model proposes that affectivity is a key factor in explaining binge eating. Studies combining both perspectives are scarce, but necessary to add to the understanding of this pathological eating behavior. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to investigate unique and joint contributions of both factors in understanding binge eating among adolescents. Participants were 301 adolescents (10–17 years; 67.2% girls; M age = 13.46 years; SD = 1.99) from the general community. Adolescents self-reported on different types of binge eating episodes (loss of control over eating in general, objective and subjective binge eating in particular), self-regulation (general self-regulation and inhibitory control) and affectivity (positive and negative). The parents were questioned about their children’s self-regulatory capacities. Results revealed main effects of self-regulatory capacities (adolescent report) and negative affectivity in predicting objective binge eating. In addition, negative affectivity interacted with self-regulation (parent report) to predict objective binge eating, whereas positive affectivity interacted with self-regulation (adolescent report) to predict subjective binge eating. No significant effects were found for loss of control over eating specifically. Both self-regulation and affectivity each make unique as well as joint contributions to binge eating among adolescents, with results differing across types of binge eating episodes and informants. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
- Binge eating