Emotion recognition and alexithymia in females with non-clinical disordered eating

Nathan Ridout, Clare Thom, Deborah J. Wallis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The aims were to determine if emotion recognition deficits observed in eating disorders generalise to non-clinical disordered eating and to establish if other psychopathological and personality factors contributed to, or accounted for, these deficits. Design: Females with high (n=23) and low (n=22) scores on the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI) were assessed on their ability to recognise emotion from videotaped social interactions. Participants also completed a face memory task, a Stroop task, and self-report measures of alexithymia, depression and anxiety. Results: Relative to the low EDI group, high EDI participants exhibited a general deficit in recognition of emotion, which was related to their scores on the alexithymia measure and the bulimia subscale of the EDI. They also exhibited a specific deficit in the recognition of anger, which was related to their scores on the body dissatisfaction subscale of the EDI. Conclusions: In line with clinical eating disorders, non-clinical disordered eating is associated with emotion recognition deficits. However, the nature of these deficits appears to be dependent upon the type of eating psychopathology and the degree of co-morbid alexithymia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalEating Behaviors
Issue number1
Early online date16 Jul 2009
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


  • facial emotion recognition
  • disordered eating
  • alexithymia
  • bulimia
  • body dissatisfaction
  • depression


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