Subjective self-control and behavioural impulsivity coexist in anorexia nervosa.
ABSTRACT Anorexia nervosa (AN) has been associated with impulse regulation problems. This study investigated subjective and behavioural impulsivity in women with anorexia nervosa (n=15) and a control group (n=16).
A self-report measure (the impulsiveness, venturesomeness, and empathy questionnaire; I(7)) and two behavioural measures (a continuous performance task [CPT]; and a novel risk taking measure [Bets 16]) of impulsivity were used along with the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI).
The AN group had elevated BDI scores and lower self-reported impulsiveness and venturesomeness scores, but they also displayed impulsive behaviour on the CPT (more errors of commission with faster reaction times).
The coexistence, in AN, of self-reported self-control and behavioural impulsivity indicates that the relationship between impulsivity and disordered eating in AN is more complex than previously recognised and supports the view that self-awareness in AN is low.