Bulimic Symptoms in a Sample of College Women: Disentangling the Roles of Body Size, Body Shame and Negative Urgency

Simon Dalley, Glenda Bron*, Iona F. A. Hagl, Frederic Heseding, Sabine Hoppe, Lotte Wit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
105 Downloads (Pure)


Abstract: Purpose This study set out to disentangle the roles of body size, body shame and negative urgency on bulimic symptomatology in a sample of college women. We predicted that body shame would mediate the relationship between body size and bulimic symptomatology: with increasing body size, the greater would be the experience of body shame and, in turn, the greater the bulimic symptomatology. We also predicted that negative urgency would exacerbate this mediation pathway, and that the moderated mediation model would occur over and above current levels of depression. Method: A convenience sample of 237 college women indicated their age, height and weight and then completed measures of body shame, negative urgency, depression and bulimic symptomatology. Bootstrap analysis was used to test the predicted moderation mediation model. Results: The bootstrap analysis supported all predictions. Thus, with greater the increase in body size, the greater was the body shame and the more frequent bulimic symptomatology. Furthermore, negative urgency moderated the relationship between body shame and bulimic symptomatology, such that those with both higher negative urgency and body shame had more frequent bulimic symptomatology. Conclusions: Results suggest that those college women higher in both BMI and negative urgency are likely to experience higher levels of bulimic symptoms. These women may benefit from emotion regulation interventions targeted at preventing, as well as coping effectively with, the experience of body shame. Level of evidence: V: cross-sectional descriptive study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1357-1364
Number of pages8
JournalEating and Weight Disorders: Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity
Issue number5
Early online date25-Sept-2019
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2020

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