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The Levinson Emerging Scholars Program

Rebecca Emery - Psychology and Philosophy

Daniel KashimaRebecca Emery moved to Seattle from her home state of Minnesota to attend the University of Washington.  After declaring a psychology major, she became a member of the departmental honors program and began working under Dr. Kevin King, a child clinical psychologist.  Through working with Dr. King, Rebecca became interested in the relationship between trait impulsivity and the binge eating behavior common to bulimia nervosa.  Specifically, Rebecca is interested in better understanding the role of this distinct personality construct in the etiology of bulimia nervosa in addition to how it functions to support binge eating behavior.  Currently, Rebecca is a senior working towards a double major in psychology and philosophy.  After graduation, she intends to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and continue conducting research in attempts to better understand abnormal behavior.

Mentor: Kevin M. King, Psychology

Project Title: Binge Eating Behavior: An Inestigation on the Moderating Role of Negative Urgency in Relation to the Dual Pathway Model

Abstract: Studies have shown that impulsivity is related to bulimic symptoms such as binge eating.  However, the definition of impulsivity has been widely mixed and inconsistent throughout the literature.  Recent research has shown impulsivity to consist of five distinct facets.  Of these facets, negative urgency, defined as the tendency to act rashly when emotionally distressed, has been found to be related to bulimic symptoms. The proposed investigation will explore these findings in greater depth by examining the relationship between negative urgency and binge eating behavior in two different but related studies.  The first study will collect data from a large sample of college female students through a web-based survey and will assess the moderating role of negative urgency on the two regulatory pathways of the dual pathway model of bulimia nervosa (i.e. dieting and negative affect).  Findings from the first study will help to clarify the role of negative urgency in relation to binge eating behavior.  The second study will also use a sample of female college students and will investigate the effects of negative urgency on food consumption after an experimentally induced negative mood to demonstrate a natural reaction to such a situation.  Findings from the second study will attempt to provide a laboratory demonstration supporting the findings from the first study by showing that negative urgency increases binge eating within individuals.  Overall, the combined results of these studies will help to inform the scientific community as to the effects of negative urgency on binge eating behavior in relation to bulimia nervosa, which may lead to clinical and therapeutic implications.