Negative urgency and expectancies increase vulnerability to binge eating in bulimia nervosa

Eat Disord. 2018 Jan-Feb;26(1):39-51. doi: 10.1080/10640266.2018.1418253.


Negative urgency (NU), the tendency to act impulsively when distressed, is associated with binge eating. Women who believe that eating alleviates negative affect are also more likely to binge eat. Thus, it is hypothesized that the individuals with high levels of NU, and who endorse these eating expectancies, will binge eat the following acute distress. This study tested these hypotheses using ecological momentary assessment. Sixteen women with the symptoms of BN completed clinical assessments, and were asked to report on distress and binges multiple times daily for two weeks. NU moderated the temporal relationship of negative affect to binges, such that women with lower scores on NU experienced a sharper increase in affect prior to binges. Individual differences in eating expectancies also moderated the relationship of affect to binge eating. Results suggest that women with high levels of NU and expectancy endorsement are triggered to binge by smaller shifts in negative affect than women who do not endorse these traits.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Behavior Control
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / psychology*
  • Bulimia Nervosa / psychology
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Young Adult