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Responsivity to food cues in bulimic women and controls
journal contributionposted on 2000-08-01, 00:00 authored by Petra StaigerPetra Staiger, S Dawe, R McCarthy
The current study investigated responsivity to individualized food cues consisting of binge/favourite foods in 17 women with bulimic nervosa (BN) and 17 women with no history or current symptoms of eating disorders (C). The hypothesis that increasing cue salience would be associated with an increase in responsivity was tested by comparison of self reported urges, affective responses and salivation to the sight and smell (SS) and the sight, smell and taste (SST) of a binge/favourite food compared to a neutral stimulus (lettuce leaf). As predicted, the BN group reported a greater urge to binge and higher levels of stress/arousal to selected binge/favourite food cues compared to the C group. The BN group also reported lower confidence to resist the urge to binge and control over food intake compared to the C group. Further, a series of planned comparisons in the BN group found that the urge to binge, stress, and loss of control were greater when participants were exposed to the SST cue than to the SS cue. There was no difference between the groups in salivary responsivity to food cues. These results are discussed in terms of a conditioning model of cue reactivity.