Binge eating in an obese community sample

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Abstract

Objective

The present study sought to examine the validity and utility of diagnostic criteria for binge-eating disorder (BED) by replicating and extending a study reported by de Zwaan and colleagues (International Journal of Eating Disorders, 15, 43–52, 1994). Method: Four groups of obese individuals were selected from a large community-based sample of men and women: 33 women and 20 men with BED, 79 women and 40 men with subthreshold BED, 21 women and 39 men who reported recurrent overeating, and 80 female and 80 male normal controls. The groups were compared on measures of body image concern, dieting behavior, and associated psychological distress. Results: Individuals with BED were distinguishable from overeaters and normal controls on a number of psychological and behavioral variables. Few differences were found between subthreshold and full-syndrome BED, raising questions about the diagnostic validity of the frequency threshold. Men with BED did not differ from women with BED above and beyond the gender-related differences observed across all four groups. Discussion: Our findings support the view of BED as a distinct syndrome. © 1998 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 23: 27–37, 1998.

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