Reward processing and risky decision making in college students with and without self-reported disordered eating behaviors
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Psychology Undergraduate Research Theses; 2016
Individuals with eating disorders may experience difficulties with reward processing and decision making, in which the focus is placed on immediate gains at the expense of long-term outcomes. Previous research has indicated the presence of impaired decision making as a function of diagnoses of Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder, three eating disorders classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). However, many college-aged individuals experience disordered eating behaviors—maladaptive eating behaviors that affect the individual’s life yet do not meet full DSM-5 criteria for an eating disorder. The present study sought to examine the presence of disordered eating behaviors among college students, as well as relationships between risky decision making and disordered eating behaviors. Participants were 412 undergraduate students who completed a baseline screening of eating behaviors with the Eating Attitudes Test and Eating Disorder Examination. Of these, 86 participants (a mix of DE and non-DE participants) completed assessments of risky decision making and other executive functions. Results indicated higher levels of disordered eating behaviors were associated with a greater preference for immediate over long-term gains, riskier decision making, and slower responses times. These results indicate that the decision making deficits seen in eating disorders may be present at a subclinical level of disordered eating behaviors.
Placed 1st at Ohio State University Newark Completed Research, Oral Presentation
Academic Major: Psychology