Impulsive behaviors in bulimic patients: relation to general psychopathology

Authors

  • Eva Peñas-Lledó,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Pharmacology and Psychiatry, Medical School, University of Extremadura, Badajoz, Spain
    • Department of Pharmacology and Psychiatry, Medical School, University of Extremadura, Avenue of Elvas s/n, 06071 Badajoz, Extremadura, Spain
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  • Francisco J. Vaz,

    1. Department of Pharmacology and Psychiatry, Medical School, University of Extremadura, Badajoz, Spain
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  • M. Isabel Ramos,

    1. Department of Pharmacology and Psychiatry, Medical School, University of Extremadura, Badajoz, Spain
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  • Glenn Waller

    1. Department of General Psychiatry, St. George's Hospital Medical School, University of London, London, United Kingdom
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Abstract

Objective

At a general level, impulsivity is related to both bulimic and general psychopathology. However, it is a complex construct, and the specific role of different forms of impulsivity in psychopathology remains to be determined. The present study of bulimic outpatients examined the association of internally and externally directed impulsive behaviors with general and bulimic psychopathology.

Methods

Thirty female bulimic outpatients completed standardized measures of bulimic attitudes/behaviors, general psychopathology and impulsive behaviors.

Results

While general psychopathology was associated with internally directed impulsive behaviors (e.g., self-harm), bulimic pathology was more specifically linked with externally directed impulsivity (e.g., theft; reckless driving)

Discussion

The results indicate that the bulimia-impulsivity link in eating disordered patients is not simply a by-product of the broader association of impulsivity with psychopathology. Therefore, bulimic pathology does not seem to be just a manifestation of general psychological disturbance. Further research is suggested to test these results, and potential clinical implications are outlined. © 2002 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 32: 98–102, 2002.

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