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Keywords:

  • subjective binge eating;
  • objective binge eating;
  • dieting;
  • psychopathology

Abstract

Objective

Research has begun to challenge the idea that a large amount of food is a diagnostically relevant distinction in classifying binge eating. This study examined the relationship between both objective and subjective (i.e., feeling out of control while eating an appropriate amount of food) binge eating frequency and factor analytically derived measures of dieting and psychopathology.

Method

Participants were 40 women who were admitted for inpatient treatment for bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, binge-purge type, or eating disorder not otherwise specified with binge-purge symptoms.

Results

Controlling for subjective binge frequency, neither the psychopathology nor the dieting factors were related to objective binge frequency. Controlling for objective binge frequency, dieting, but not psychopathology, was related to subjective binge frequency. There was no correlation between frequency of subjective and objective binge eating.

Discussion

The results are discussed in light of research on restrained eating. Implications for diagnosis and the role of loss of control in defining binge behavior are also discussed. © 2002 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 31: 220–228, 2002; DOI 10.1002/eat.10026