Daily mood patterns and bulimic behaviors in the natural environment

Ross D. Crosby, Stephen A. Wonderlich, Scott G. Engel, Heather Simonich, Joshua Smyth, James E. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Objective: Negative affect has been purported to play an important role in the etiology and maintenance of bulimic behaviors. The objective of this study was to identify daily mood patterns in the natural environment exhibited by individuals with bulimia nervosa and to examine the relationship between these patterns and bulimic behaviors. Method: One hundred thirty-three women aged 18-55 meeting DSM-IV criteria for bulimia nervosa were recruited through clinical referrals and community advertisements. Ecological momentary assessment was used to collect multiple ratings of negative affect, binge eating and purging each day for a two-week period using palmtop computers. Latent growth mixture modeling was used to identify daily mood patterns. Results: Nine distinct daily mood patterns were identified. The highest rates of binge eating and purging episodes occurred on days characterized by stable high negative affect or increasing negative affect over the course of the day. Conclusions: These findings support the conclusion that negative mood states are intimately tied to bulimic behaviors and may in fact precipitate such behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-188
Number of pages8
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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