Title: A naturalistic approach of shame in eating disorders: from experience sampling assessment to ecological momentary interventions

Funding source: This project is supported by a POSTDOCTORAL grant, awarded by the Romanian Ministry of Education and Romanian Authority for Scientific Research – MEN-UEFISCDI. Grant code: PN-III-P1-1.1-PD-2019-0706; Contract number: PD 62/2020

Host institutions: The project is hosted by Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, through the Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy / International Institute for the Advanced Studies of Psychotherapy and Applied Mental Health.

Duration of the project: September 2019 –August 2021

Principal investigator: Diana Nechita, Ph.D.

Mentor: Daniel David, Ph.D.

Project description and aims

Eating disorders are severe mental disorders associated with significant psychological and physical impairment, whose treatment efficiency are far from ideal. In this context, there has been an intensified research interest directed towards the understanding of the factors involved in the development and maintenance of eating disorders resulting in a wide range of established genetic, biological, socioenvironmental and psychological risk factors. One such relevant factor is the experience of shame, but there are virtually no studies investigating the role of momentary shame in relation with disturbed eating behaviors. Given this lack of empirical data, the main objective of the current project is to study the experience of state shame in relation with EDs behaviors and will include two studies. The first one aims to evaluate the role of state shame and its regulation as potential antecedents/consequences of EDs behaviors using an experience sampling method, which involves the collection of data in a real-time, or momentary, fashion in one’s natural environment. In the second study we will evaluate the effect of a self-compassion momentary intervention on shame and EDs behaviors. Real-time interventions are argued to be an important advancement in the treatment of EDs. However, there are only a few, simple such interventions for EDs pathology. In this project we will use a just-in-time intervention based on user recorded data in order to identify at-risk moments. This project will use the newest approaches in studying psychological dynamic constructs such as those involved in EDs with important theoretical and clinical implications.

Thus, the main goals of the project are to:

  1. Study the regulation of momentary shame and negative affect in relation to EDs behaviors.
  2. Explore the relationship of momentary shame to EDs behaviors.
  3. Determine the effect of a real-time mobile intervention on momentary shame and EDs behaviors.