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Understanding the Association of Impulsivity, Obsessions, and Compulsions with Binge Eating and Purging Behaviours in Anorexia Nervosa


Cynthia Bulik, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 101 Manning Drive, CB #7160, Chapel Hill, NC 27599–7160, USA. Voice: (919) 843 1689; Fax: (919) 843 8802.




To further refine our understanding of impulsivity, obsessions, and compulsions in anorexia nervosa (AN) by isolating which behaviours—binge eating, purging, or both—are associated with these features.


We conducted regression analyses with binge eating, purging, and the interaction of binge eating with purging as individual predictors of scores for impulsivity, obsessions, and compulsions in two samples of women with AN (n = 1373).


Purging, but not binge eating, was associated with higher scores on impulsivity, obsessions, and compulsions. Purging was also associated with worst eating rituals and with worst eating preoccupations.


Our results suggest that purging, compared with binge eating, may be a stronger correlate of impulsivity, obsessions, and compulsions in AN. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.

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