Alexithymia, negative affect and disordered eating
Data included in PROCESS mediation showing the direct and indirect effects, via negative affect, of alexithymia on symptoms of disordered eating in a non-clinical sample
Steps to reproduce
248 participants completed The Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20; Bagby et al., 1994), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS; Zigmond & Snaith, 1983) and the Eating Disorders Inventory (EDI-2; Garner, 1991). The data contains total TAS-20 score (plus subscales difficulty identifying feelings (DIF), difficulty describing feelings (DDF), and externally oriented thinking (EOT)), depression and anxiety subscales of the HADS, and three subscales from the EDI (drive for thinness (DFT), bulimia (Bul), and body dissatisfaction (BD)). Significant correlations (Spearman's - due to non-normal distribution of the data) were observed between DIF and DDF but not EOT and all subscales of the EDI (DFT, Bul & BD) and negative affect (depression and anxiety). Depression and anxiety were also significantly related to DFT, Bul and BD. Age was correlated with DIF and DDF. A series of mediation analyses were conducted (on the ranked data) using bias corrected bootstrapping in JAMOVI with alexithymia (DIF and DDF) as predictor variables, depression and anxiety as the mediator, and disordered eating DFT, Bul and BD as dependent variables. Note: age was included as a covariate. Depression and anxiety mediated the influence of DIF and DDF on all disordered eating scales (the only exception was that anxiety did not mediate the effect of DIF on DFT). However, after controlling for depression and anxiety, direct effects of DIF were observed for all EDI scales and direct effects of DDF were observed for DFT and BD, but not BUL. These data confirm that alexithymia (DIF and DDF) predicts eating disorder symptoms directly (as an independent predictor) and indirectly via negative affect (depression and anxiety).