The perfectionism model of binge eating: Testing unique contributions, mediating mechanisms, and cross-cultural similarities using a daily diary methodology

The perfectionism model of binge eating (PMOBE) is an integrative model explaining the link between perfectionism and binge eating. This model proposes socially prescribed perfectionism confers risk for binge eating by generating exposure to 4 putative binge triggers: interpersonal discrepancies, low interpersonal esteem, depressive affect, and dietary restraint. The present study addresses important gaps in knowledge by testing if these 4 binge triggers uniquely predict changes in binge eating on a daily basis and if daily variations in each binge trigger mediate the link between socially prescribed perfectionism and daily binge eating. Analyses also tested if proposed mediational models generalized across Asian and European Canadians. The PMOBE was tested in 566 undergraduate women using a 7-day daily diary methodology. Depressive affect predicted binge eating, whereas anxious affect did not. Each binge trigger uniquely contributed to binge eating on a daily basis. All binge triggers except for dietary restraint mediated the relationship between socially prescribed perfectionism and change in daily binge eating. Results suggested cross-cultural similarities, with the PMOBE applying to both Asian and European Canadian women. The present study advances understanding of the personality traits and the contextual conditions accompanying binge eating and provides an important step toward improving treatments for people suffering from eating binges and associated negative consequences.