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J Psychiatr Res. 2019 Mar;110:24-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2018.12.018. Epub 2018 Dec 15.

Trait-level facets of impulsivity and momentary, naturalistic eating behavior in children and adolescents with overweight/obesity.

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Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University/The Miriam Hospital, Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center, 196 Richmond St., Providence, RI, 02903, USA. Electronic address:
Sanford Research, 120 8th St. South, Fargo, ND, 58103, USA; Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, 1919 Elm St. North, Fargo, ND, 58102, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, CA, 92093, USA; Department of Psychology, Illinois Institute of Technology, 3424 South State St., Chicago, IL, 60616, USA.
Department of Psychology, Illinois Institute of Technology, 3424 South State St., Chicago, IL, 60616, USA.


Impulsivity, and specific subdomains of inhibitory control and reward sensitivity, are trait-level factors that have been implicated in the onset and maintenance of pediatric obesity and disordered eating, but their associations with real-world eating behavior are unknown. We investigated associations of these trait-level constructs with naturalistic, momentary measures of loss of control (LOC) eating and overeating severity in a heterogeneous sample of youth (n = 40), aged 8-14y, with overweight/obesity. Self-report, parent-report, and behavioral data on trait-level impulsivity, reward sensitivity, and inhibitory control, respectively, were collected in the context of a 14-day ecological momentary assessment (EMA) protocol in which participants reported on their eating behavior, mood, hunger, and palatability of foods consumed in real-time. Generalized estimating equations revealed that more perseverative errors on a behavioral measure of visuomotor processing speed and a lower self-reported tendency to act without thinking (at a trend level) were related to greater overall LOC severity. Momentary associations between negative affect and LOC severity were stronger among individuals with greater perseverative errors. Results suggest that trait-level facets of impulsivity may directly influence an individual's tendency to engage in dysregulated eating behaviors, and may also impact susceptibility to state-level factors associated with occurrence of these behaviors. Momentary interventions for LOC eating may require tailoring to address temperamental factors related to impulsivity and inhibitory control.


Ecological momentary assessment; Impulsivity; Loss of control eating; Obesity; Overeating; Reward sensitivity

[Available on 2020-03-01]

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