Cue-exposure vs self-control in the treatment of binge eating: a pilot study

Behav Res Ther. 1992 May;30(3):235-41. doi: 10.1016/0005-7967(92)90069-s.


From a recent theory on the learned nature of craving responses and binge eating, it follows that craving will extinguish when the CS-US bond is broken by prolonged exposure to the cues predicting excessive food intake with response prevention. The present authors treated six obese bulimics with cue exposure and response prevention. Six other patients learned to avoid or escape the binge-related cues with the aid of self control techniques. Although both treatments appeared to be effective in reducing the binge frequency, a most remarkable finding of the present study is that all patients treated by cue exposure were abstinent, directly after treatment and during the 1 yr follow-up. In contrast to the 100% binge-free subjects treated by cue exposure, self control techniques and relapse prevention led to abstinence in merely 33% of the subjects.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Bulimia / prevention & control
  • Bulimia / psychology
  • Bulimia / therapy*
  • Conditioning, Classical
  • Cues*
  • Eating*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic
  • Humans
  • Pilot Projects
  • Recurrence