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Keywords:

  • nocturnal eating;
  • night eating syndrome;
  • binge eating;
  • obesity

Abstract

Objective

To examine clinical correlates of nocturnal eating, a core behavioral symptom of night eating syndrome.

Method

Data from 285 women who had participated in a two-stage screening for binge eating were utilized. Women (n = 41) who reported one or more nocturnal eating episodes in the past 28 days on the eating disorder examination and women who did not report nocturnal eating (n = 244) were compared on eating disorder symptomatology, body mass index (BMI), and on measures of psychosocial adjustment.

Results

Nocturnal eaters were significantly more likely to report binge eating and differed significantly from non-nocturnal eaters (with responses indicating greater disturbance) on weight and shape concern, eating concern, self-esteem, depression, and functional impairment, but not on BMI or dietary restraint. Group differences remained significant in analyses adjusting for binge eating.

Discussion

This study confirms the association between nocturnal eating and binge eating previously found in treatment seeking samples yet also suggests that the elevated eating disorder symptoms and decreased psychosocial adjustment observed in nocturnal eaters is not simply a function of binge eating. © 2009 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2010; 43:520–526