Shared psychopathology in obese subjects with and without binge-eating disorder




To investigate obese people with/without binge-eating Disorder (BED) in terms of shared psychopathological features pertaining to spectrum of eating disorders.


One-hundred obese adult patients with a BMI > 30 kg/m2 referred to an Eating Disorder Unit and/or hospital weight-loss programs were administered the BED Clinical Interview, the Eating Disorder Inventory, and the Structured Clinical Interview for Anorexic-Bulimic Spectrum, Self-Report.


Twenty-seven subjects satisfied DSM-IV research criteria for current BED; compared to nonbingeing obese subjects, BED ones were characterized by greater weight-shape concerns influencing self-esteem (p = .05), overall impairment due to the overweight condition (p < .005), psychological distress leading to professional help (p < .001), dichotomous reasoning (p = .01) and secondary social phobia due to the overweight condition (p < .005). Compared to the other group, BED obese subjects scored higher at the following EDI subscales: bulimia (p < .0001), ineffectiveness (p < .01), interoceptive awareness and social insecurity (p < .05).


The results of this study highlight the role of cognitive mechanisms such as dichotomous reasoning and weight-shape concerns unduly influencing self-esteem as a hallmark of BED in obese patients, and the importance of investigating eating disorder psychopathology by adopting a dimensional perspective, rather than strictly focusing on categories when dealing with obese patients. © 2008 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2008