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Keywords:

  • binge eating disorder;
  • obesity;
  • personality;
  • eating behaviors

Abstract

Objective:

Questions have been raised about the validity of binge eating disorder (BED) as psycho-pathologically distinct from other forms of overeating. Our purpose was to ascertain whether BED individuals differed in important ways from nonbinging obese adults.

Method:

BED adults were recruited from the community as were weight-matched (obese) and normal-weight control (NWC) groups. All groups were equivalent for age and gender distribution, and were assessed on several personality traits and eating behaviors.

Results:

BED individuals and obese controls did not differ on the personality traits. Both were more reward sensitive, and had greater anxiousness, impulsivity, and addictive personality traits than NWC. However, BED individuals reported significantly greater hedonic eating compared with the obese, who had higher levels than NWC.

Conclusion:

Our findings provided no evidence of a psychological identity unique to obese adults with BED although their eating behaviors are markedly hedonically driven—i.e., more responsive to factors external to physiological needs. © 2007 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2008