The clinical significance of loss of control over eating in overweight adolescents




Given limited data on the diagnostic validity of binge eating disorder (BED) in adolescents, this study sought to characterize overweight adolescents according to types of overeating episodes.


Ninety-six adolescents (ages 13–17 years) with recurrent binge eating (BE), loss of control with or without overeating (subclinical BE; SUB), overeating without loss of control (OE), and no overeating or loss of control episodes (CONTROL) were compared on weight/shape concerns and depressive symptoms using ANCOVA and post-hoc least squares difference tests.


BE and SUB adolescents had higher weight/shape concern scores than OEs and CONTROLs (ps < .01). BE and SUB adolescents had higher depression scores than CONTROL adolescents (ps < .05). BE adolescents had greater depression scores than OE (p < .01) but not SUB adolescents.


Loss of control over eating signals increased impairment independent of overeating in adolescents. Results support refining BED criteria for youth to reflect this distinction. © 2007 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord, 2008