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Picking or nibbling: Frequency and associated clinical features in bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and binge eating disorder

Authors

  • Eva M. Conceição PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Psychology, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal
    2. Department of Clinical Research, Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, Fargo, North Dakota
    • Correspondence to: Eva M. Conceição, School of Psychology, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal. E-mail: econceicao@psi.uminho.pt

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  • Ross Crosby PhD,

    1. Department of Clinical Research, Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, Fargo, North Dakota
    2. Department of Clinical Neuroscience, University of North Dakota, Fargo, North Dakota
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  • James E. Mitchell MD,

    1. Department of Clinical Research, Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, Fargo, North Dakota
    2. Department of Clinical Neuroscience, University of North Dakota, Fargo, North Dakota
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  • Scott G. Engel PhD,

    1. Department of Clinical Research, Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, Fargo, North Dakota
    2. Department of Clinical Neuroscience, University of North Dakota, Fargo, North Dakota
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  • Stephen A. Wonderlich PhD,

    1. Department of Clinical Research, Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, Fargo, North Dakota
    2. Department of Clinical Neuroscience, University of North Dakota, Fargo, North Dakota
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  • Heather K. Simonich MA,

    1. Department of Clinical Research, Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, Fargo, North Dakota
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  • Caroline B. Peterson PhD,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
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  • Scott J. Crow MD,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
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  • Daniel Le Grange PhD

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
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ABSTRACT

Objective

Picking or ribbling (P&N) is a newly studied eating behavior characterized by eating in an unplanned and repetitious manner in between meals and snacks. This behavior seems to be related to poorer weight loss outcomes after bariatric surgery for weight loss in severely obese patients, but clarification is still required regarding its value in other clinical samples. The purpose of this study was to investigate the frequency of P&N across different eating disorder samples, as well as to examine its association with psychopathological eating disorder features.

Method

Our sample included treatment-seeking adult participants, recruited for five different clinical trials: 259 binge eating disorder (BED); 264 bulimia nervosa (BN), and 137 anorexia nervosa (AN). Participants were assessed using the Eating Disorders Examination interview before entering the clinical trials.

Results

P&N was reported by 44% of the BED; 57.6% of the BN; and 34.3% of the AN participants. No association was found between P&N and BMI, the presence of compensatory behaviors, binge eating, or any of the eating disorder examination subscales.

Discussion

This study suggests that P&N behavior is highly prevalent across eating disorder diagnoses, but it is not associated with psychopathology symptoms or other eating disordered behaviors. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.(Int J Eat Disord 2013; 46:815–818)

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