How do warmth, safeness and connectedness-related memories and experiences explain disordered eating?
- 115 Downloads
Literature suggested that the recall of early positive experiences have a major impact on the promotion of feelings of connectedness and social safeness, and seems to protect individuals against psychopathology. Recent research has also demonstrated that the absence of these positive rearing memories play a key role on disordered eating-related behaviours. The impact of early affiliative memories on disordered eating do not seem to be direct, and the mechanisms underlying this relationship are scarcely investigated. The present study aimed to clarify how memories of warmth and safeness explain the adoption of disordered eating attitudes, and tested the mediator role of social safeness, external shame and appearance-focused social comparison on aforementioned relationship, in a sample of 277 young women. The tested model explained 36% of eating psychopathology’s variance and presented an excellent fit. Path analysis results indicated that the impact of rearing memories on eating psychopathology was fully mediated through the mechanisms of social safeness, external shame and appearance-focused social comparison. Specifically, these findings suggested that the extent to which positive rearing memories are associated with lower levels of disordered eating attitudes is influenced by the current feelings of social safeness and connectedness, which in turn are totally carried by decreased feelings of external shame and by lower endorsement on unfavourable comparison based on physical appearance with proximal targets (peers). These results seem to offer important insights for research and clinical work on body image and eating-related difficulties, suggesting the relevance of promoting warm and safe interactions with others.
Level of evidence
Level V, descriptive study.
KeywordsEarly affiliative memories Social safeness External shame Appearance-focused social comparison Eating psychopathology
Compliance with ethical standards
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
Conflict of interest
The authors of this manuscript declare no conflict of interest.
- 2.Mikulincer M, Shaver PR (2007) Attachment in adulthood: structure, dynamics, and change. Guilford, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- 3.Panksepp J (1998) Affective neuroscience. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- 6.Gilbert P (2005) Compassion and cruelty: a biopsychosocial approach. In: Gilbert P (ed) Compassion: conceptualisation, research and use in psychotherapy. Routledge, London, pp 9–74Google Scholar
- 7.Gilbert P (2009) The compassionate mind: a new approach to life’s challenges. Constable Robinson, LondonGoogle Scholar
- 8.Gilbert P (2010) Compassion focused therapy: distinctive features. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
- 9.Wang S (2005) A conceptual framework for integrating research related to the physiology of compassion and the wisdom of Buddhist teachings. In: Gilbert P (ed) Compassion: conceptualisations, research and use in psychotherapy. Routledge, London, pp 75–120Google Scholar
- 10.Gilbert P (1989) Human nature and suffering. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, HoveGoogle Scholar
- 12.Gilbert P (2002) Body shame: a biopsychosocial conceptualization and overview, with treatment implications. In: Gilbert P, Miles J (eds) Body shame: conceptualisation, research and treatment. Routledge, London, pp 3–54Google Scholar
- 18.Barkow J (1980) Prestige and self-esteem: A biosocial interpretation. In: Omark DR, Strayer FF, Freedman DG (eds) Dominance relations: an ethological view of human conflict and social interaction. Garland STPM Press, New York, pp 319–332Google Scholar
- 19.Gilbert P (1992) Depression: the evolution of powerlessness. Guilford/Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, HoveGoogle Scholar
- 26.WHO (1995) Physical status: the use and interpretation of anthropometry. Reports of a WHO Expert Committee. WHO technical report series 854. World Health Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar
- 27.Poínhos R, Franchini B, Afonso C, Correia F, Teixeira VH, Moreira P, Durão C, Pinho O, Silva D, Lima Reis JP, Veríssimo T, de Almeida MDV (2009) Alimentação e estilos de vida da população Portuguesa: metodologia e resultados preliminares [Alimentation and life styles of the Portuguese population: methodology and preliminary results]. Alimentação Humana 15(3):43–60Google Scholar
- 28.Gilbert P, McEwan K, Mitra R, Richter A, Franks L, Mills A, Bellew R, Gale C (2009) An exploration of different types of positive affect in students and in patients with bipolar disorders. Clin Neuropsychiatry 6:135–143Google Scholar
- 30.Fairburn CG, Beglin SJ (1994) Assessment of eating disorders: interview of self-report questionnaire? Int J Eat Disord 16(4):363–370. doi: 10.1002/1098-108X(199412)16:4<363::AID-EAT2260160405>3.0.CO;2-# CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 32.Arbuckle JL (2006) Amos (version 7.0) (Computer Program). SPSS, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
- 33.Kline RB (2005) Principles and practice of structural equation modeling, 2nd edn. The Guilford Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- 35.Cunha M, Matos M, Faria D, Zagalo S (2012) Shame memories and psychopathology in adolescence: the mediator effect of shame. Int J Psychol Psychol Ther 12(2):203–218Google Scholar
- 37.Ferreira C, Pinto Gouveia J, Duarte C (2013) Drive for thinness as a women’s strategy to avoid inferiority. Int J Psychol Psychol Ther 13(1):15–29Google Scholar