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Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention



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Values are freely chosen life directions and/or qualities of being that can motivate behavior change. There is nascent support for the utility of values work as a part of the therapeutic process across treatments, particularly in third wave therapy approaches (e.g., acceptance and commitment therapy). However, therapeutic values work is underresearched in clinical samples of youth. The aim of the present study is to examine the role of the two distinct values processes (engagement and obstruction), body image inflexibility, alongside other common comorbid symptoms of eating disorders (anxiety, depression) in a sample of female adolescents with eating disorders attending a residential eating disorder treatment program. Participants (N= 75) were patients at a residential eating disorder treatment facility and completed a battery of measures at time of admission. Correlational analyses and multiple regression were performed. Results found correlations between eating disorder severity, values engagement, values obstruction, body image flexibility, anxiety, and depression in the expected directions. Regression results found body image inflexibility, progression towards values, and anxiety as significant predictors of eating disorder severity (adjusted R2 = .54). This study points to the importance of emphasizing values engagement in youth with eating disorders, highlighting a potential treatment target for future research.