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Hard Exercise, Affect Lability, and Personality Among Individuals with Bulimia Nervosa

Date Published: 12/14

Abstract: The current study explores the personality traits of compulsivity (e.g., sense of orderliness and duty to perform tasks completely) and restricted expression (e.g., emotion expression difficulties) as potential moderators of the relation between affect lability and frequency of hard exercise episodes in a sample of individuals with bulimic pathology. Participants were 204 adult females recruited in five Midwestern cities who met criteria for threshold or subthreshold bulimia nervosa (BN). Compulsivity was found to significantly moderate the relation between affect lability and number of hard exercise episodes over the past 28 days, such that among those with high compulsivity, level of affect lability was associated with the number of hard exercise episodes;whereas, among those with low compulsivity, affect lability was not associated with the number of hard exercise episodes. The same pattern of findings emerged for restricted expression; however, this finding approached, but did not reach statistical significance. As such, it appears that affect lability is differentially related to hard exercise among individuals with BN depending upon the level of compulsivity and, to a more limited extent, restricted expression. These results suggest that, for individuals with BN with either compulsivity or restricted expression, focusing treatment on increasing flexibility and/or verbal expression of emotions may help them in the context of intense, fluctuating affect.

Authors: Lisa M. Brownstonea, Ellen E. Fitzsimmons-Crafta, Stephen A. Wonderlichb, Thomas E. Joinerc, Daniel Le Granged, James E. Mitchellb, Scott J. Crowe, Carol B. Petersone, Ross D. Crosbyb, Marjorie H. Kleinf, and Anna M. Bardone-Conea

aUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Psychology, CB#3270-Davie Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, United States
bUniversity of North Dakota, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, 1919 North Elm Street, Fargo, ND 58102, United States and Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, 120 Eighth Street South, Fargo, ND 58103, United States
cFlorida State University, Department of Psychology, Tallahassee, FL 32306, United States
dThe University of Chicago, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience, 5841 S. Maryland Avenue, MC 3077, Chicago, IL 60637, United States
eUniversity of Minnesota, Department of Psychiatry, 2450 Riverside Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55454, United States
fUniversity of Wisconsin,

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