Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Applied Behavior Analysis

Major Professor

Raymond Miltenberger, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Carie English, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Wayne Sager, M.S.


Eating disorder, Bulimia Nervosa, Treatment for binge eating, Functional assessment of eating disorder, Escape extinction


Binge-eating disorders are a common problem affecting up to 5 percent of the American population in any given 6-month period. Currently, the most widely accepted treatment is some variation of Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Although there is an abundance of research showing positive effects, the abstinence rates following this type of treatment are currently around 50%. A recent study by Bosch, Miltenberger, Gross, Knudson, and Brower-Breitwieser (2008) explored the effects of extinction on binge-eating behavior that was hypothesized to be maintained by relief from negative emotional responding. The study involved four women who engaged in binge-eating behavior, one of whom met the diagnostic criteria for Bulimia Nervosa. The treatment was successful, with three of the four participants obtaining abstinence. To date, this has been the only study examining this procedure and with only four participants. The purpose of the current study was to further evaluate extinction of binge eating maintained by automatic negative reinforcement with women who met diagnostic criteria for Bulimia Nervosa. Four young women enrolled in the study, three of whom met criteria for Bulimia Nervosa. The results showed that the treatment decreased binge eating to zero for all four women, although one dropped out of the study shortly after beginning the intervention.