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Keywords:

  • flexible control;
  • rigid control;
  • binge eating disorder

Abstract

Objective

To examine the relationship of flexible and rigid dimensions of restrained eating to body mass index (BMI) and overeating in outpatients with binge eating disorder (BED).

Method

Participants were 148 consecutive outpatients who met criteria for BED. The Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ) was administered to assess Cognitive Restraint, Hunger, and Disinhibition. The TFEQ also contains two Cognitive Restraint subscales — Flexible Control and Rigid Control. The Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire version (EDE-Q) was administered to assess frequency of different forms of overeating during the past 28 days and the attitudinal features of eating disorders.

Results

Flexible Control and Rigid Control were significantly correlated with each other. They were both negatively correlated with BMI, but neither was significantly correlated with the frequency of binge eating or other forms of overeating. In addition, Flexible Control and Rigid Control predicted almost the same amount of variance in BMI.

Discussion

BED patients exhibit flexible and rigid control of eating that is related to BMI, but not to the frequency of binge eating or other forms of overeating. Results of the present study provide preliminary evidence that flexible and rigid control of eating may not be a useful distinction in BED patients. However, increased restraint, regardless of type, may prove to be of benefit with regard to weight control and may not have adverse effects on binge eating in obese BED patients. © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 31: 82–91, 2002.