Affective and cognitive antecedents to eating episodes in bulimia and binge eating



The present study investigated seven antecedents to the binge-purge cycle proposed by Orleans and Barnett (1984), including restraint, stress, mood, thoughts of food, fatigue, hunger, and dichotomous cognitions. For 1 week, 19 bulimics, 15 binge eaters, and 20 normal control subjects recorded detailed information about these antecedent conditions and the types and quantities of food consumed for each eating episode. Results indicated that prior to their binge episodes, bulimics reported significantly greater stress, preoccupation with food, and negative mood than binge eaters reported prior to their binges and normal controls reported prior to all of their eating episodes. Both bulimics and binge eaters reported greater dichotomous cognitions prior to binge episodes than normal controls experienced prior to all of their eating episodes. Comparisons of the antecedents to eating episodes which bulimics and binge eaters regarded as nonbinge episodes with all eating episodes of the control group indicated that although bulimics and binge eaters experienced significantly greater negative moods than normal controls prior to their nonbinge episodes, only bulimics experienced significantly greater dichotomous cognitions prior to these eating episodes. Theoretical and clinical implications of these findings are discussed.