Despite the growing evidence of the association between shame experiences and eating psychopathology, the specific effect of body image-focused shame memories on binge eating remains largely unexplored. The current study examined this association and considered current body image shame and self-criticism as mediators. A multi-group path analysis was conducted to examine gender differences in these relationships. The sample included 222 women and 109 men from the Portuguese general and college student populations who recalled an early body image-focused shame experience and completed measures of the centrality of the shame memory, current body image shame, binge eating symptoms, depressive symptoms, and self-criticism. For both men and women, the effect of the centrality of shame memories related to body image on binge eating symptoms was fully mediated by body image shame and self-criticism. In women, these effects were further mediated by self-criticism focused on a sense of inadequacy and also on self-hatred. In men, only the form of self-criticism focused on a sense of inadequacy mediated these associations. The present study has important implications for the conceptualization and treatment of binge eating symptoms. Findings suggest that, in both genders, body image-focused shame experiences are associated with binge eating symptoms via their effect on current body image shame and self-criticism.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 26, 2016
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