Objective: The implications of impulsivity in its relationship with binge-eating or purging behaviors remain unclear. This study examined the patterns of eating behaviors and co-morbid impulsive behaviors in individuals with bulimia nervosa n optimally homogeneous classes using latent class analysis (LCA). Methods: All participants (n=180) were asked to complete a series of self-reported inventories of impulsive behaviors and other psychological measures. Information regarding the lifetime presence of symptoms of eating disorder was assessed by clinical interviews. LCA was conducted using eating disorder symptoms, impulsive behaviors, and the number of purging methods. Results: Three latent classes of bulimic women were identified. These were women who exhibited relatively higher rates of purging, symptoms of impulsive behavior, and multiple purging methods (17.8%), women who used no more than one purging method with a low occurrence of impulsive behavior (41.7%), and women who showed higher rates of purging behaviors and the use of multiple purging methods with a low rate of impulsive behavior (41.7%). The impulsive sub-group had comparable severity of eating-related measures, frequency of binge-eating, and higher levels of general psychopathology than that of the other two sub-groups. Conclusion: This study provides empirical support for the existence of an impulsive subgroup with distinctive features among a non-Western group of BN patients. This study also suggests that mechanisms other than impulse dysregulation may exist for the development of binge-eating and purging behaviors in bulimia nervosa patients, or the mechanisms contributing to binge-eating and impulsive behaviors may be different.
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