Temporal discounting and the tendency to delay gratification across the eating disorder spectrum

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Abstract

Bulimia nervosa (BN) and binge eating disorder (BED) have been associated with poorer reward-related inhibitory control, reflected by a reduced tendency to delay gratification. The opposite has been reported in anorexia nervosa (AN), but differences have not been directly compared across eating disorders (EDs). This study investigated self-reported (delaying gratification inventory) and task-based (temporal discounting) inhibitory control in 66 women with an ED and 28 healthy controls (HC). Poorer task-based inhibitory control was observed in the BN compared to the AN group, and poorer self-reported inhibitory control in the BN and BED groups compared to the AN and HC groups, suggesting that reward-related inhibitory control varies across EDs. Symptom severity correlated with poorer self-reported (but not task-based) inhibitory control across the EDs. These data provide some support for transdiagnostic mechanisms, and highlight the importance of addressing perceived loss of control in the treatment of EDs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Eating Disorders Review
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2017

Keywords

  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Binge eating disorder
  • NEUROPSYCHOLOGY

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