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Keywords:

  • eating disorder;
  • natural outcome;
  • prognostic factors;
  • binge eating

Abstract

Objective

A community sample of women with binge eating disorder (BED) was followed for a period of 6 months, in order to examine the natural course of the disorder.

Method

Baseline, 3-, and 6-month assessments were conducted. The following variables were examined: eating disorder symptomatology, importance of weight or shape, psychopathology, social adjustment, childhood sexual abuse, childhood obesity, parental obesity, and parental psychopathology.

Results

After the 3-month follow-up, 10 of the original sample of 31 participants dropped out of the study; drop-outs were more likely to have reported a history of sexual abuse. Of the 21 remaining participants, 11 continued to suffer from full-syndrome BED at 6-month follow-up, while the remaining 10 appeared to be in partial remission. There were no significant baseline predictors of outcome.

Conclusion

It appears that for some women with BED, the eating disorder improves with a decrease in binge eating and importance of weight or shape. For others, the eating disorder symptoms remain constant. © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 25:45–54, 1999.