Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type




First Advisor

Sarah O’Neill

Second Advisor

Justin Storbeck

Third Advisor

Anne-Claude Bedard


ADHD, obesity, binge eating, inhibitory control


Obesity is a global epidemic because of the potential health risks. There is evidence that many obese individuals manifest persistent ADHD symptoms, and that both disorders increase risk for binge eating. Nevertheless, how obesity and ADHD may increase risk for binge eating work is unclear. Neuropsychological deficits are common to all disorders and may help to explain the relations observed. The aim of this study was to explore whether neuropsychological dysfunction, especially inhibitory control weaknesses, moderate the association between greater BMI and more severe ADHD and disordered eating behaviors. Thirty-nine undergraduate college students (27 females; Mean age = 20.77, SD = 2.76 years) were recruited based on BMI and self-report of adult ADHD severity. They participated in an extensive laboratory assessment comprising computerized assessments of executive functioning (e.g., CPT3, IGT), an antisaccade task comprising food and neutral cues, self-report questionnaires of disordered eating behaviors, and anthropometric measures. Hierarchical linear regression analyses showed that BMI but not ADHD or their interaction was a unique predictor of Eating Concerns and impairment consequent to disordered eating. Correlational analyses showed that, by and large, neuropsychological functioning measures were not related to disordered eating outcomes. Finally, hierarchical linear regression analyses showed that neuropsychological functioning did not moderate the effects of ADHD or BMI on disordered eating, however, BMI was a significant predictor of Eating Concerns. Results suggest that higher BMI is associated with greater emotional distress surrounding disordered eating. Overall, findings may be affected by the small sample size, limiting power to detect significant effects.



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