• binge eating;
  • eating disorders;
  • child development;
  • diagnosis;
  • classification systems



This study investigated the diagnostic validity of the DSM-IV-TR criteria for binge eating disorder as well as proposed diagnostic criteria in younger children with and without loss of control (LOC) eating.


A total of 60 children with at least one episode of loss of control over eating within the past 3 months and 60 matched children without LOC history were recruited from the community. Clinical interviews and self-report questionnaires were used to assess psychopathology.


Hierarchical cluster analyses produced clusters of high recurrent LOC eating, low recurrent LOC eating, and no or sporadic LOC eating. The children with high recurrent LOC eating had eating disorder and general psychopathology comparable to that documented in clinical eating disorders. The DSM-IV-TR criteria and the criterion of “undue influence of weight or shape on self-evaluation” could at lower thresholds than for adults be used to identify children with high recurrent LOC eating.


Overall, this evaluation of the diagnostic validity of binge eating disorder in middle childhood suggests that only a few modifications to the adult DSM-IV-TR criteria are necessary to identify children with LOC eating suffering from clinically significant eating disorder psychopathology and increased general psychopathology. © 2008 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2009