Examining intra-individual variability in food-related inhibitory control and negative affect as predictors of binge eating using ecological momentary assessment

Kathryn E. Smith, Tyler B. Mason, Lauren M. Schaefer, Adrienne Juarascio, Robert Dvorak, Noam Weinbach, Ross D. Crosby, Stephen A. Wonderlich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Binge eating presents in the context of several eating disorders (EDs) and has been shown to be associated with negative affectivity and inhibitory control deficits. While considerable ecological momentary assessment (EMA) work in EDs has demonstrated the importance of intra-individual variability in affect in predicting binge episodes, no research has considered how fluctuations in inhibitory control and negative affect together influence binge eating, or the extent to which these relationships may differ across ED diagnoses. Therefore, the present EMA study assessed the extent to which daily inhibitory control moderated momentary associations between negative affect and binge eating, and whether the presence of regular compensatory behaviors influenced these associations. Participants were 40 women reporting regular binge eating (anorexia nervosa binge-purge type [AN-BP], bulimia nervosa [BN], binge-eating disorder [BED]/subthreshold BED) who completed a 10-day EMA protocol that included measures of affect, eating, and a daily ambulatory Go/No-go task that included palatable food and neutral stimuli. Results of generalized estimating equations indicated greater between-person food-related inhibitory control deficits were associated with greater binge likelihood, and there was a three-way interaction between momentary negative affect, daily food-related inhibitory control, and compensatory behavior group. For individuals with BN or AN-BP, the relationship between momentary negative affect and subsequent binge eating was stronger on days characterized by reduced inhibitory control, whereas no main or interactive effects of negative affect or inhibitory control were observed for those with BED/subthreshold BED. Together these results demonstrate the importance of intra-individual variability in executive functioning and affective processes that underlie binge eating, as well as meaningful individual differences in these momentary associations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-143
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Volume120
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Paul Rokke, Ph.D., for assistance with study recruitment, and Kayla Bjorlie, B.A., Morgan Sorby, B.A., and Marinda Kurpius-Brock, M.Ed., for assistance with data collection. This research was supported in part by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grant T32MH082761 . Appendix A

Funding Information:
The present study was the first to our knowledge to examine how intra-individual variability (i.e., fluctuations relative to an individual's mean level) in self-regulatory capacity (indexed by inhibitory control) and negative affect together predict binge eating in individuals with EDs using EMA, and whether these associations differ based on the presence of regular compensatory behaviors. Results partially supported the hypotheses, in that the association between momentary negative affect and subsequent binge eating was stronger on days characterized by lower food-related inhibitory control, but only among those who reported regular compensatory behaviors (i.e., BN/AN-BP). In addition, there was a main effect of between-person food-related commission errors predicting binge eating independent of group status, which suggested individuals with poorer inhibitory control in the context of palatable food generally evidence greater binge eating. While these results should be interpreted as preliminary, findings highlight the importance of considering the interplay between intra- and inter-individual factors when addressing binge-eating symptoms, which has meaningful implications for future research and treatment. Furthermore, results were specific to inhibitory control in the context of food and not neutral cues. This supports earlier findings (Wu et al., 2013) and extends this literature by demonstrating that variability in inhibition to disorder-salient stimuli could potentiate the momentary processes leading to binge eating among individuals with bulimic symptoms.The authors would like to thank Paul Rokke, Ph.D. for assistance with study recruitment, and Kayla Bjorlie, B.A. Morgan Sorby, B.A. and Marinda Kurpius-Brock, M.Ed. for assistance with data collection. This research was supported in part by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grant T32MH082761.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Binge eating
  • Eating disorders
  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • Emotion regulation
  • Inhibitory control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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