Food cravings in women with a history of anorexia nervosa
Article first published online: 6 DEC 1998
Copyright © 1997 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
International Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume 22, Issue 4, pages 403–409, December 1997
How to Cite
Gendall, K. A., Sullivan, P. F., Joyce, P. R. and Bulik, C. M. (1997), Food cravings in women with a history of anorexia nervosa. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 22: 403–409. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-108X(199712)22:4<403::AID-EAT5>3.0.CO;2-Q
- Issue published online: 6 DEC 1998
- Article first published online: 6 DEC 1998
- Manuscript Accepted: 18 JUL 1996
- food cravings;
- anorexia nervosa;
- binge episodes
The objective of the present study was to determine the prevalence and characteristics of food cravings in women with a history of anorexia nervosa. Method: One hundred one control women selected at random and 64 women with a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa 10 to 14 years earlier (cases) completed the Diagnostic Interview for Genetic Studies, a food craving questionnaire, the Temperament and Character Inventory and the Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire. Results: A similar proportion of cases and controls reported food cravings. A greater proportion of cases reported strong cravings with two or more features of intensity (p = .02). Cravings in the cases were more likely to be characterized by difficulty resisting the craved food (p = .0008), anxiety when the craved food was unavailable (p = .002), and a high frequency of occurrence (p = .001). The cases who craved were significantly more likely to have had lifetime BN (p = .02). Conclusion: A similar prevalence of food craving in cases as in controls suggests that successful control of food intake and/or denial of hunger overrides dietary restriction as a precondition for craving in anorexia nervosa. A dysfunction in the serotonergic system, the provision of intermittent reinforcement by binge episodes, and/or frustration due to unsuccessful attempts at dietary restraint may mediate the association of cravings with the presence of lifetime bulimia. © 1997 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Eat Disord 22:403–409, 1997.