Research links impulsivity to binge eating

30 May 2015

A new study has suggested that the more impulsive a person is the more likely they are to binge eat when feeling negative. 

Senior author Kelly Klump, professor of psychology at Michigan State University, conducted the research, which was based on the interviews of 612 female twins, of which 14 per cent demonstrated binge eating, overeating or loss of control over eating.

The team determined that people with these eating problems generally had higher levels of 'negative urgency'  - a tendency to act impulsively when experiencing negative emotions 0 compared to those who did not have pathological eating.

Although negative urgency was higher in people who tended to have bad eating habits, Sarah Racine, assistant professor of psychology at Ohio University and lead author on the research, said there may be different factors at play for the different types of eating problems.

"It is possible that relationships between binge eating and negative urgency reflect impairments in behavioural control over eating when upset," said Dr Racine.

She said overeating could mean people are more sensitive to rewarding effects of food in the context of negative emotions.

Posted by Edward Bartel

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