Different subtypes of impulsivity differentiate uncontrolled eating and dietary restraint

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Leitch, Margaret ; Morgan, Michael ; Yeomans, Martin (2013)

The current study explored the relationship between three subtypes of impulsivity (Reflection Impulsivity, Impulsive Choice, and Impulsive Action) and measures of uncontrolled eating (TFEQ-D) and restraint (TFEQ-R). Eighty women classified as scoring higher or lower on TFEQ-D and TFEQ-R completed the Matching Familiar Figures Test (MFFT20), Delay Discounting Task (DDT), a Go No Go task, Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART), and the Barrett Impulsivity Scale-11 (BIS-11). To test whether these relationships were affected by enforced controls over eating, half of the participants fasted the night before and ate breakfast in the laboratory before testing and half had no such control. Women scoring higher on the TFEQ-D were significantly more impulsive on the MFFT20 and BIS-11 overall but not on DDT, Go No Go or BART. Women scoring higher on TFEQ-R were significantly less impulsive on the Go No Go task but did not differ on other measures. The eating manipulation modulated responses on the BART and BIS-11 non-planning scale depending on TFEQ-D classification. These results confirm recent data that high scores on TFEQ-D are related to impulsivity, but imply this relates more to Reflection Impulsivity rather than Impulsive Choice or Action. In contrast restrained eating was associated with better inhibitory control. Taken together, these results suggest that subtypes of impulsivity further differentiate uncontrolled eating and restraint, and suggest that a poor ability to reflect on decisions may underlie some aspects of overeating.
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