Predicting the restrictive eating, exercise and weight monitoring compulsions of anorexia nervosa

E. Caitlin Lloyd, Maria Øverås, Øyvind Rø, Bas Verplanken, Anne Haase

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: Compulsions surrounding restrictive eating, exercise, and weight monitoring are thought to maintain abnormal eating behaviour in individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN). This study aimed to determine if AN psychopathology and trait anxiety explain the presence of restrictive eating, exercise, and weight monitoring compulsions in a mixed sample. Methods: Participants were 31 females with AN and 31 age and gender-matched healthy individuals (HC). Restrictive eating, exercise and weight monitoring compulsion presence was compared between AN and HC groups. Multivariable poisson regression analyses, adjusted for diagnostic status, were conducted to assess the association of both AN psychopathology and trait anxiety with compulsions across the mixed group. Results: Individuals with AN endorsed a greater number of restrictive eating, exercise and weight monitoring compulsions compared to HC. In adjusted poisson regression analyses neither AN psychopathology nor trait anxiety predicted compulsion presence: incidence rate ratio (IRR) for AN psychopathology = 1.15 [95% CI 0.84, 1.57], p = 0.39; IRR for trait anxiety = 1.01 [95% CI 0.97, 1.06], p = 0.50. Conclusions: Greater presence of restrictive eating, exercise and weight monitoring compulsions was reported by individuals with AN, supporting the conceptualisation of disorder behaviours as compulsive. The study was underpowered to robustly evaluate the association between predictors of interest and the compulsions outcome, largely owing to the small sample size. Further investigation is required, ideally using methods able to identify causal and mediation effects. Level of evidence: Level V, cross-sectional study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)701-707
Number of pages7
JournalEating and Weight Disorders - Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity
Volume25
Early online date21 Mar 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Anxiety
  • Compulsions
  • Compulsive behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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