A prospective study of the influence of the UPPS model of impulsivity on the co-occurrence of bulimic symptoms and non-suicidal self-injury

Eat Behav. 2012 Dec;13(4):335-41. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2012.05.007. Epub 2012 Jun 15.


Individuals with bulimia nervosa (BN) often report co-morbid symptoms of non suicidal self-injury (NSSI). This study examined the influence of (lack of) perseverance, (lack of) premeditation, sensation seeking, and negative urgency (the tendency to act rashly when experiencing negative affect) on these two behavior patterns. We hypothesized that negative urgency influences vulnerability to multiple maladaptive behavior patterns, thus influencing the co-occurrence of NSSI and BN symptoms. 489 young adult women completed baseline assessments, and 209 completed an eight month follow-up assessment. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the influence of four personality pathways to impulsive behavior simultaneously on both behaviors at baseline, and the incremental predictive utility of traits on both behaviors at eight month follow up. Additionally, we examined the influence of NSSI at baseline on symptoms of BN at follow up, and symptoms of BN at baseline on NSSI at follow up. Negative urgency accounted for significant variance in NSSI and eating pathology. Baseline (lack of) perseverance contributed significantly to binge eating frequency at follow-up, when accounting for baseline symptoms. NSSI at baseline was associated with increased purging at follow-up. Individual differences in impulsivity appear to influence both NSSI and eating pathology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bulimia / complications
  • Bulimia / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / complications
  • Impulsive Behavior / diagnosis*
  • Models, Psychological
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales*
  • Self Report
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / complications
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / diagnosis*
  • Young Adult