Title

Distress tolerance is linked to unhealthy eating through pain catastrophizing

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Low distress tolerance, an important component of emotion regulation, is a risk factor for unhealthy eating. Identifying factors which explain the link between distress tolerance and unhealthy eating can advance the understanding of problematic eating and inform prevention and treatment of obesity and eating disorders. The present study examines pain catastrophizing as a mediator between distress tolerance and unhealthy eating in a nonclinical population, which has received little attention despite being a risk factor for unhealthy eating behaviors. The Distress Tolerance Scale (DTS), Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS), and the Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire (DEBQ), were administered to 171 college students (62.6% female, 38.6% White, 28.1% Hispanic). There was no evidence of a significant direct effect of distress tolerance on unhealthy eating. However, as hypothesized, there was a significant indirect or mediated effect of pain catastrophizing on the relationship between distress tolerance and unhealthy eating. Individuals low in distress tolerance reported higher pain catastrophizing, and a result, these individuals also reported higher levels of unhealthy eating. These findings introduce pain catastrophizing as an influential variable in the link between distress tolerance and unhealthy eating. Findings suggest that reducing catastrophic thinking about pain may be a worthy target of intervention in reducing unhealthy eating. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

Cognitive behavioral; Distress tolerance; Eating disorders; Emotion regulation; Emotions; Obesity; Pain catastrophizing; Unhealthy eating

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