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Keywords:

  • binge eating;
  • executive functioning;
  • neuropsychology;
  • cognitive;
  • behavior;
  • impulsivity

Abstract

Objective:

To examine the link between binge eating, executive functioning, and behavioral impulsivity.

Method:

Fifty women who reported engaging in weekly binge eating in the absence of regular compensatory behaviors and 66 women with no history of binge eating completed several self-report questionnaires and a brief neuropsychological battery, including the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task and Conner's Continuous Performance Task.

Results:

Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that groups did not differ in executive functioning after controlling for depression, anxiety, body mass, general intelligence, and psychotropic medication use. Correlation analyses suggest that individuals who endorse more frequent binge eating might have greater difficulties thinking flexibly or shifting attention. Individuals who binge eats are also more likely to behave impulsively, but only for emotional reasons.

Discussion:

Although this study is unable to determine whether these cognitive and behavioral factors precede or follow binge-eating episodes, outcomes have implications for treatment and prevention. © 2013 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2013)