A Prospective Test of the Influence of Negative Urgency and Expectancies on Binge Eating and Purging

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Abstract

It has been proposed that both trait negative urgency (NU; the tendency to act rashly when distressed) and learned outcome expectancies for eating and restricting behavior contribute to the development of symptoms of bulimia nervosa (BN). The current study provides the first prospective test of whether these factors, and their interaction, predict increases in bulimic symptoms over time. In a sample of 355 first-year college women assessed at the start and then at the end of the first semester, prospective tests indicated that (a) baseline NU and eating expectancy endorsement predicted increased odds of binge eating at Time 2; (b) and baseline NU and thinness/restricting expectancies interacted to predict increased frequency of purging at Time 2. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that NU and learned expectancies together increase risk for symptoms of BN.

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