Decision-making impairments in women with binge eating disorder in comparison with obese and normal weight women

Eur Eat Disord Rev. 2012 Jan;20(1):e56-62. doi: 10.1002/erv.1098. Epub 2011 Feb 9.


Objective: The purpose of the current study was to examine decision making in female patients with binge eating disorder (BED) in comparison with obese and normal weight women.

Method: In the study, 20 patients with BED, 21 obese women without BED and 34 healthy women participated. Decision making was assessed using the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT). Several questionnaires were administered measuring binge eating severity, sensitivity for punishment and reward, and self-control.

Results: The findings indicated that the BED and obese group performed poorly on the IGT. Participants who have BED and are obese did not improve their choice behaviour over time, whereas participants with normal weight showed a learning effect. An association between IGT performance and binge eating severity was found.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates that patients with BED display decision-making deficits on the IGT comparable with other forms of disordered eating. Future research should focus on unravelling the processes underlying the deficits.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / physiopathology
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / psychology*
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gambling / psychology
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Women / psychology