Is Non-suicidal Self-injury Related to Impulsivity in Anorexia Nervosa? Results from Self-report and Performance-based Tasks

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The present study investigates the association between non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) and impulsivity in anorexia nervosa (AN) patients by means of self-report and behavioural tasks. In total, 60 female AN patients were included in the study, filled out the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-11 (BIS-11) and performed three performance-based tasks to assess different facets of impulsivity. Overall, 30% of the AN patients engaged in at least one form of NSSI during their lifetime. AN patients with and without NSSI did not significantly differ on the BIS-11 impulsiveness scale. On the performance-based measures, few differences emerged between AN patients with and without NSSI. Patients with NSSI showed more perseverations and perseveration errors (p < .05). The associations between self-report and performance-based measures were rather low, except for the association between the BIS-11 and Wisconsin Card Sorting Task perseveration responses and errors (correlations |r| range between .32 and .42). The implications for theory and treatment of AN patients with and without NSSI will be discussed. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.

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