# Behavioral Responses to Uncertainty in Weight-Restored Anorexia Nervosa - Preliminary Results

Piccolo, Mayron; Milos, Gabriella Franca; Bluemel, Sena; Schumacher, Sonja; Mueller-Pfeiffer, Christoph; Fried, Michael; Ernst, Monique; Martin-Soelch, Chantal (2019). Behavioral Responses to Uncertainty in Weight-Restored Anorexia Nervosa - Preliminary Results. Frontiers in Psychology, 10:2492.

## Abstract

Impaired decision-making under conditions of uncertainty seems to contribute to the expression and maintenance of anorexia nervosa (AN), but it is not clear whether this impairment is a disease state that would remit with treatment, or a persisting trait in patients with AN. To examine this question, a longitudinal study was conducted in 12 female inpatients with AN (age M = 22.2, SE = 1.36), before (Time-1) and after reaching a body mass index of >17.5 kg/m$^{2}$ (Time-2). Intolerance of uncertainty (IU) was assessed via a decision-making task, the wheel of fortune (WOF). Weight gain at Time-2 was accompanied with significant changes in uncertainty-related performance compared to Time-1 [(Time × Uncertainty), p < 0.05]. At Time-1, reaction times (RTs) varied in function of uncertainty, while at Time-2, uncertainty did not modulate RTs. These findings support a change in decision-making under uncertainty with successful weight-rehabilitation in AN. While IU was present in underweight patients, it became non-significant after weight restoration.

## Abstract

Impaired decision-making under conditions of uncertainty seems to contribute to the expression and maintenance of anorexia nervosa (AN), but it is not clear whether this impairment is a disease state that would remit with treatment, or a persisting trait in patients with AN. To examine this question, a longitudinal study was conducted in 12 female inpatients with AN (age M = 22.2, SE = 1.36), before (Time-1) and after reaching a body mass index of >17.5 kg/m$^{2}$ (Time-2). Intolerance of uncertainty (IU) was assessed via a decision-making task, the wheel of fortune (WOF). Weight gain at Time-2 was accompanied with significant changes in uncertainty-related performance compared to Time-1 [(Time × Uncertainty), p < 0.05]. At Time-1, reaction times (RTs) varied in function of uncertainty, while at Time-2, uncertainty did not modulate RTs. These findings support a change in decision-making under uncertainty with successful weight-rehabilitation in AN. While IU was present in underweight patients, it became non-significant after weight restoration.

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