The primary aim was to examine to influence of subclinical disordered eating on autobiographical memory specificity (AMS) and social problem solving (SPS). A further aim was to establish if AMS mediated the relationship between eating psychopathology and SPS. A non-clinical sample of 52 females completed the autobiographical memory test (AMT), where they were asked to retrieve specific memories of events from their past in response to cue words, and the means-end problem-solving task (MEPS), where they were asked to generate means of solving a series of social problems. Participants also completed the Eating Disorders Inventory (EDI) and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. After controlling for mood, high scores on the EDI subscales, particularly Drive-for-Thinness, were associated with the retrieval of fewer specific and a greater proportion of categorical memories on the AMT and with the generation of fewer and less effective means on the MEPS. Memory specificity fully mediated the relationship between eating psychopathology and SPS. These findings have implications for individuals exhibiting high levels of disordered eating, as poor AMS and SPS are likely to impact negatively on their psychological wellbeing and everyday social functioning and could represent a risk factor for the development of clinically significant eating disorders.
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- eating disorders
- overgeneral memory
- social functioning