Processing of threat-related information by women with bulimic eating attitudes

Glenn Waller, Stephanie Quinton, Derrick Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


It has been proposed that bulimic attitudes and behaviors serve the function of reducing awareness, especially where a situation is regarded as threatening. However, there is little evidence to support this model. Considering a non-eating-disordered population, this study tested the prediction that a higher level of bulimic eating attitudes will be associated with a characteristic pattern of cognitive processing, where the individual is slower to respond to threatening information. In a computer-driven test of information processing, it was shown that women with more bulimic attitudes were slower to respond to threatening than neutral words, while there was no such effect for the women with less bulimic attitudes. This finding was specific to bulimic attitudes, rather than simply being related to unhealthy eating attitudes in general. These findings support the "escape from awareness" model of bulimic attitudes and behavior. Further research is needed, particularly to verify these findings in women with diagnosable bulimic disorders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-193
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1995


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