Eating disorders and non-suicidal self-injury: Cluster analysis considering eating pathology, emotion dysregulation, and negative urgency

Sónia Gonçalves, Sofia Ramalho, Bárbara C. Machado, Ana Isabel Vieira


Research on the interplay between eating pathology, emotion dysregulation and negative urgency is needed to inform intervention approaches for patients with eating disorders and non-suicidal self-injury. This study aimed to investigate the characterization of patients with eating disorders and non-suicidal self-injury considering eating pathology, emotion dysregulation and negative urgency. This cross-sectional study evaluated 73 outpatients with eating disorders and non-suicidal self-injury (14-55 years; 68 women). A cluster analysis was performed using eating pathology, emotion dysregulation and negative urgency. Differences between clusters were explored on sociodemographic/psychological variables, eating disorder diagnostics and past/current non-suicidal self-injury
engagement. Three clusters were identified. Cluster 1 (n=29) (moderate severity) was characterized by high levels of eating pathology, but moderate emotion dysregulation and negative urgency. Cluster 2 (n=29) (high severity) was characterized by the highest scores in eating pathology, emotion dysregulation and negative urgency, and included more patients with current non-suicidal self-injury. Cluster 3 (n=15) (low severity) was characterized by the lowest levels of eating pathology, emotion dysregulation and negative urgency, and included more patients with past non-suicidal self-injury. These profiles highlight the importance of emotion dysregulation and negative urgency as treatment targets for eating disorders patients with current non-suicidal self-injury.


Eating disorders, Self-injurious behavior, Emotion regulation, Negative urgency, Cluster analysis.

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