The role of disordered eating cognition and body image flexibility in disordered eating behavior in college men


Akihiko Masuda, Mary L. Hill, Erin C. Tully & Sarah E. Garcia


Research has documented a recent rise in endorsement of disordered eating behavior in men. Following some cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) models of disordered eating, the present cross-sectional study investigated whether disordered eating cognition and body image flexibility are associated with disordered eating behavior and whether the effect of body mass index (BMI) on disordered eating behavior is due to the effect of BMI on lower levels of body image flexibility and higher levels of disordered eating cognitions. Participants included 237 male college students, ages 17-50 years old. Results revealed large indirect effects of BMI on disordered eating behavior through disordered eating cognition and diminished body image flexibility. These findings suggest a central role of maladaptive cognitions and regulation processes in disordered eating behavior in men, and future research should test if these cognitions and regulation processes predict onset, recurrence, and/or maintenance of the disordered eating behaviors.

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