Longitudinal association between childhood impulsivity and bulimic symptoms in African American adolescent girls

Lindsay P. Bodell, Thomas E. Joiner, Nicholas S. Ialongo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: Using a longitudinal design, the authors of this study examined the relationship between externalizing problems and impulsivity in early childhood and symptoms of disordered eating in late adolescence. Method: Participants were urban, African American first-grade girls (N = 119) and their parents who were participating in a longitudinal study examining the prevention of disruptive behaviors. Impulsivity, conduct problems, and oppositional defiant behavior were assessed by parent report via structured interview questions. At 9-year follow-up, bulimic symptoms were measured by the Eating Disorder Inventory. A hierarchical regression analysis was conducted to determine the longitudinal association among impulsivity, conduct problems, and oppositional defiant behavior and bulimic symptoms. Results: Parental report of impulsivity in first-grade girls, but not conduct problems or oppositional defiant behavior, was associated with self-reported bulimic symptoms in the girls in late adolescence (p <.04). Conclusions: These results extend previous findings of a concurrent relationship between impulsivity and dysfunctional eating behaviors to a minority sample and further indicate that behavioral impulsivity in early childhood may be used to identify children for targeted prevention of disordered eating.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-316
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Volume80
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2012

Keywords

  • adolescents
  • bulimic symptoms
  • disordered eating
  • externalizing behavior
  • impulsivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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