Thinness and eating expectancies predict subsequent binge-eating and purging behavior among adolescent girls

Gregory T. Smith, Jean R. Simmons, Kate Flory, Agnes M. Annus, Kelly K. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations

Abstract

One's expectancies for reinforcement from eating or from thinness are thought to represent summaries of one's eating-related learning history and to thus influence the development of binge-eating and purging behavior. In a 3-year longitudinal study, the authors tested this hypothesis and the hypothesis that binge eating also influences subsequent expectancy development. The authors used trajectory analysis to identify groups of middle school girls who followed different trajectories of binge eating, purging, eating expectancies, and thinness expectancies. Initial eating and thinness reinforcement expectancies identified girls whose binge eating and purging increased during middle school, and expectancies differentiated girls who began these problem behaviors from girls who did not. Initial binge-eating scores differentiated among eating expectancy developmental trajectories. The onset of most behaviors can be understood in terms of learned expectancies for reinforcement from these behaviors. The same model can be applied to the risk for eating disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-197
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Volume116
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2007

Keywords

  • Adolescent girls
  • Binge eating
  • Expectancies
  • Prediction
  • Purging
  • Risk factors
  • Thinness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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