Emotion coupling and regulation in anorexia nervosa

John R.E. Fox, Emily Smithson, Sarah Baillie, Nuno Ferreira, Ingrid Mayr, Michael J. Power

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The present study sought to investigate emotion regulation strategies in people with anorexia nervosa (AN) and whether the theoretical concept of 'emotion coupling' between anger and disgust could help to explain some of the specific eating disorder symptomatology in people with AN. Method: This 'emotion coupling' hypothesis was tested using a mood induction procedure within laboratory conditions, where individuals with AN (n=22) were matched with control participants (n=19). Participants completed a bank of different measures prior to the study, and these included measures of eating pathology, core beliefs about the self and others, and emotion regulation strategies. Within the experimental part of this study, anger, disgust and body size estimation were measured prior to and after an anger induction procedure (i.e., a repeated measures design). Results: People with AN demonstrated a significantly more internal-dysfunctional way to regulate their emotional states, when compared with matched controls. Within the 'emotional coupling' part of the study, participants showed a significant increase in levels of disgust and body size estimation following an anger induction when compared with matched controls. Discussion: The significance of these results was considered in the light of the new Schematic, Propositional, Analogical and Associative Representation Systems in eating disorders model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-333
Number of pages15
JournalClinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Anger
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Basic emotions
  • Disgust
  • Emotion regulation

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    Fox, J. R. E., Smithson, E., Baillie, S., Ferreira, N., Mayr, I., & Power, M. J. (2013). Emotion coupling and regulation in anorexia nervosa. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 20(4), 319-333. https://doi.org/10.1002/cpp.1823