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Cognit Ther Res. 2013 Oct 1;37(5). doi: 10.1007/s10608-013-9547-y.

Associations Between Fear of Negative Evaluation and Eating Pathology During Intervention and 12-Month Follow-up.

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Department of Psychology, Southern Methodist University.


Fear of negative evaluation, a core feature of social anxiety disorder, has been prospectively related to eating pathology over and above other established risk factors, suggesting that it may be an important cognitive risk factor for eating disorders. The present study examined reciprocal longitudinal relations among fear of negative evaluation and eating disorder risk factors using a female undergraduate sample (N=82) enrolled in an eating disorder prevention program. Cross-lagged panel analysis revealed that fear of negative evaluation was a determinant of subsequent body dissatisfaction and eating disorder symptoms. Fear of negative evaluation also predicted subsequent thin-ideal internalization among participants with high BMI, but not among those with low BMI. Fear of negative evaluation did not predict future dietary restraint or negative affect but was itself predicted by prior levels of thin ideal internalization, body dissatisfaction, dietary restraint, and negative affect. Findings suggest that fear of negative evaluation may be a useful target for reducing body image concerns and maladaptive eating behavior.


Fear of negative evaluation; eating disorders; prevention; risk factors; social anxiety

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