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Keywords:

  • objective binge eating;
  • subjective binge eating;
  • bulimia nervosa

Abstract

Objective

This study sought to determine if amount of food consumed is important in defining binge eating episodes in individuals with bulimia nervosa (BN).

Method

Women (N = 30) with DSM-IV BN (OBN) and women (N = 25) who would have met DSM-IV criteria for BN except that their binge episodes were not objectively large (SBN) were recruited from the community. Subjects completed telephone interviews and questionnaires.

Results

Results demonstrated no significant differences between women with OBN and SBN in levels of dietary restraint, disinhibition, or hunger; no significant differences in general psychopathology; and significant differences in frequency of binge/purge episodes and impulsiveness. Differences in impulsiveness remained after controlling for frequency of binge/purge episodes.

Discussion

These results partially validate current diagnostic criteria for bulimia nervosa and elucidate one factor, impulsiveness, that may be important in understanding objective binge episodes in bulimia nervosa. © 2001 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 29: 294–301, 2001.