How do dysfunctional eating and hazardous drinking women perform on behavioural measures of reward and punishment sensitivity?
There is growing evidence that heightened reward sensitivity is a common feature in both dysfunctional eating and alcohol misuse. Punishment sensitivity is a feature of dysfunctional eating, but has a mixed association with alcohol misuse. Most research in this area has used self-report measures of reward and punishment sensitivity with relatively little research using specific laboratory tasks to measure approach and avoidance behaviour. One hundred and thirty-one women completed two behavioural tasks in which delivery of rewards and punishments were manipulated. Performance on the behavioural measure of punishment sensitivity was associated with self-reported punishment sensitivity, trait anxiety and dysfunctional eating, but not with level of hazardous drinking. However, comorbid women inhibited their response to a punished cue more than hazardous drinking only women. Although self-reported reward sensitivity and impulsivity were associated with dysfunctional eating and hazardous drinking, performance on a card-sorting task of reward sensitivity failed to correlate with self-reported reward sensitivity/impulsivity or disordered behaviour. The study supports the proposal that dysfunctional eating women are more sensitive to cues of threat in the environment than non-dysfunctional eating women.
Personality and Individual Differences