Impulsivity in the bulimic syndrome
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The Bulimia Test (BULIT) was used to identify four groups of subjects: those who reported bulimic symptomatology and engaging in purging behavior; those who reported bulimic symptomatology and did not engage in purging behavior; those who exhibited relatively high BULIT scores, but not the full spectrum of bulimic symptomatology; and those whose BULIT scores indicated they were relatively free of bulimic symptomatology. All subjects were administered two self-report measures of impulsivity (Barratt Impulsiveness Scale and Eysenck Impulsiveness Scale) and one behavioral measure of impulsivity (Matching Familiar Figures Test) in order to assess differential tendencies for impulsiveness across these four groups. Results indicated a significant association between bulimic symptomatology and impulsivity. The high-score/purge group evidenced the greatest impulsivity and those who were free of bulimic symptomatology displayed the least impulsivity on measures of general impulsivity, cognitive impulsivity, and number of errors on the Matching Familiar Figures Test. In addition, all subjects were asked to evaluate a series of risk-taking scenarios and were asked to fill out a survey inquiring about the frequency with which they engage in several types of behaviors that are theoretically linked to impulsivity. Little additional support for the association between bulimia and impulsivity was gained from these measures. The present experiment provided the first empirical evidence in support of the hypothesis that impulsive behavior is related to bulimic behavior. In addition, depression, suicidal ideation and behavior, and both state and tra anxiety were found to be significantly associated with bulimic symptomatology in the present study.