Recent work using naturalistic, repeated, ambulatory assessment approaches have uncovered a range of within-person mood- and body image-related dynamics (such as fluctuation of mood and body dissatisfaction) that can prospectively predict eating disorder behaviors (e.g., a binge episode following an increase in negative mood). The prognostic significance of these state-based dynamics for predicting trait-level eating disorder severity, however, remains largely unexplored. The present study uses within-person relationships among state levels of negative mood, body image, and dieting as predictors of baseline, trait-level eating pathology, captured prior to a period of state-based data capture. Two-hundred and sixty women from the general population completed baseline measures of trait eating pathology and demographics, followed by a 7 to 10-day ecological momentary assessment phase comprising items measuring state body dissatisfaction, negative mood, upward appearance comparisons, and dietary restraint administered 6 times daily. Regression-based analyses showed that, in combination, state-based dynamics accounted for 34–43% variance explained in trait eating pathology, contingent on eating disorder symptom severity. Present findings highlight the viability of within-person, state-based dynamics as predictors of baseline trait-level disordered eating severity. Longitudinal testing is needed to determine whether these dynamics account for changes in disordered eating over time.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited