Picking and nibbling in children and adolescents with eating disorders

Andrea E. Kass*, Erin C. Accurso, Andrea B. Goldschmidt, Seeba Anam, Catherine E. Byrne, Kate Kinasz, Alexandria Goodyear, Setareh O'Brien, Daniel Le Grange

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective Picking and nibbling (P&N), defined as eating in an unplanned and repetitious way between meals and snacks, is prevalent among adults with eating disorders (EDs), but unexamined among youth with EDs. This study sought to assess the prevalence of P&N in youth with EDs and its association with ED and comorbid pathology. Method Youth (N = 515; ages 7-18) who presented to one outpatient ED research-clinical program were assessed for ED and comorbid pathology. Results Two-fifths (n = 214, 41.6%) of youth endorsed P&N. These individuals were older (p < .001) and had a higher percent expected body weight (p = .006) than those who denied P&N. Controlling for age and percent expected body weight, P&N was only associated with global ED pathology in youth with anorexia nervosa (AN) or atypical AN (p = .007). P&N was not associated with ED diagnosis, ED pathology in youth with bulimia nervosa or subclinical bulimia nervosa, binge eating, compensatory behaviors, secret eating, or the presence of a mood or anxiety disorder (p's > .05). Discussion Consistent with research in adults, P&N is prevalent but not significantly associated with ED pathology, except for global ED pathology in youth with AN/atypical AN, or comorbid disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1102-1105
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • children and adolescents
  • eating disorders
  • picking and nibbling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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