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The nature and significance of impulse-control difficulties in binge-eating disorder (BED) are uncertain. Most emerging research has focused on food-specific rather than general impulsivity. The current study examines the clinical presentation of patients with BED categorized with and without clinical levels of general impulsivity.
A total of 343 consecutive treatment-seeking patients with BED were categorized as having BED with general impulsivity (GI+; N = 73) or BED without general impulsivity (GI−: N = 270) based on structured diagnostic and clinical interviews. The groups were compared on demographic, developmental, and psychological features, and on rates of psychiatric and personality comorbidity.
Individuals with BED and general impulsivity (GI+) reported greater severity of eating-disorder psychopathology, greater depressive symptoms, and greater rates of comorbidity than those without general impulsivity (GI−).
A subtype of individuals with BED and general impulsivity may signal a more severe presentation of BED characterized by heightened and broader psychopathology. Future work should investigate whether these impulse-control difficulties relate to treatment outcomes.
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