A network analysis of disordered eating symptoms, big-five personality traits, and psychological distress in Chinese adults

Guangsheng LIANG, Yawei CHENG, Wesley R. BARNHART, Jianwen SONG, Tom LU*, Jinbo HE*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Previous studies have revealed associations between disordered eating symptoms, big-five personality traits, and psychological distress. However, limited research has explored these relationships as a network, including their interconnections, and even less has done so in non-Western populations. We employed network analysis to investigate the co-occurrence of disordered eating symptoms, big-five personality traits, and psychological distress in Chinese adults. Method: A sample of 500 Chinese adults (256 men) completed measures assessing big-five personality traits, psychological distress, and disordered eating symptoms. The network of personality traits, psychological distress, and disordered eating symptoms was estimated, including its central and bridge nodes. Results: The central nodes in the network were the facets of openness (like adventure), extraversion (like going to social and recreational parties), and disordered eating symptoms (dissatisfaction with body weight or shape). Moreover, certain facets of neuroticism (always worrying something bad will happen), psychological distress (feeling worthless), and an inverse facet of extraversion (bored by parties with lots of people) were identified as essential bridge nodes in maintaining the structure of the network. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that personality traits (e.g., openness and extraversion) and body dissatisfaction are important in maintaining the network in a community sample of Chinese adults. While future replication is needed, findings from this study suggest that individuals with negative self-thinking, predisposed neuroticism, and extraversion may be at risk of developing disordered eating symptoms. Public Significance: The present study contributes to existing knowledge by employing a network perspective to examine the associations between disordered eating symptoms, big-five personality traits, and psychological distress in a Chinese adult community sample. The identified facets of neuroticism and extraversion and symptoms of psychological distress may be worthy of targeting in the prevention and treatment of disordered eating in the Chinese context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1842-1853
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume56
Issue number10
Early online date30 Jun 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Wiley Periodicals LLC.

Keywords

  • big-five personality traits
  • disordered eating
  • eating disorders
  • network analysis
  • psychological distress

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