Restrained eaters act on impulse

C. Nederkoorn*, Y. van Eijs, A. Jansen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Impulsivity and bulimic symptoms often go together. It is not only the eating behaviour of bulimics that is impulsive; many studies show that the eating disorder frequently is accompanied by non-eating related impulsive behaviours like substance abuse, self-harm or theft. This co-morbidity suggests that there might be a more basic lack of inhibitory control that makes someone vulnerable for both the bulimic symptoms and the other impulsive behaviours. The present study tested whether an analogous group of 34 restrained eaters showed a basic inhibitory control deficit by using a stop-signal task, compared to 29 control women. It was found that the restrained eaters were significantly worse in inhibiting their basic non-food related motor responses than unrestrained eaters. Food exposure during the task did not affect motor performance. A fundamental lack of general response inhibition might play a role in the development of a specific eating disinhibition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1651-1658
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004

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