Coping With Distress by Eating or Drinking: Role of Trait Urgency and Expectancies


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Abstract

The authors propose that trait urgency (the tendency to act rashly when distressed) is a risk factor for both alcohol abuse and bulimic symptoms, that disorder-specific expectancies influence whether one engages in one behavior or the other, and that expectancies moderate urgency's influence on those behaviors. Cross-sectional findings were consistent with the model. Problems from alcohol use were comorbid with binge eating and purging. Trait urgency was associated with both behaviors. Alcohol expectancies were associated with drinking levels and with problem drinking, but not with eating. Eating expectancies were associated with binge eating, but not with alcohol use or problems. Urgency's effect on binge eating was moderated by expectancies, but its effect on alcohol use and problem drinking was not.

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