This article reviews the existing literature on the role of negative affect in binge-eating disorder (BED). Retrospective studies examining the subjective experience of binge-eating, daily self-monitoring studies and self-report questionnaire studies measuring changes in affect across the binge-eating cycle are examined. It is concluded that negative affect is an important antecedent to binge-eating in individuals with BED. The literature is inconclusive regarding the exact role of affect regulation as an etiological factor and the role negative affect plays in the maintenance of BED. If negative affect plays a role in the creation and maintenance of BED, existing treatments may need to be augmented to target affect regulation. Recommendations for future research and suggestions for treatment modification are discussed.
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