Binge eating before the onset of dieting: A distinct subgroup of bulimia nervosa?

Authors

  • Claire Haiman,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York
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  • Michael J. Devlin

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry and New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York
    • New York State Psychiatric Institute—Unit 116, 722 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032
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Abstract

Objective

While most individuals with bulimia nervosa begin dieting prior to the onset of binge eating, some individuals begin binge eating prior to dieting. The purpose of this study was to assess the differences between these two groups.

Methods

Participants (N = 120) in a treatment study for bulimia nervosa were separated into two groups (Binge First vs. Diet First) based on the ages they reported for the onset of binge eating and of dieting and then compared across a number of variables.

Results

Individuals in the Binge First group reported higher weight, higher shape and weight concern, lower age of onset of eating disorder symptoms, and an altered relationship of binge eating to vomiting when compared to individuals in the Diet First group.

Discussion

The differences between the two groups suggest that there may be subgroups of individuals with purging bulimia nervosa and that individuals in the Binge First group more closely resemble individuals with binge eating disorder than do those in the Diet First group. © 1999 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 25: 151–157, 1999.

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