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Keywords:

  • binge eating;
  • ecological momentary assessment;
  • hunger

Abstract

Objective:

Binge eating has been associated with increased hunger, suggesting a role for impaired appetite regulation. Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) is ideally suited to examine whether hunger is a precipitant of binge eating but results from such studies have not been systematically reviewed. This study provides a meta-analysis of EMA studies that have examined hunger as an antecedent of binge eating.

Method:

Electronic database and manual searches produced seven EMA studies with N = 180 participants. Meta-analyses were conducted to compare: (1) pre-binge eating hunger to average ratings of hunger, and (2) pre-binge eating hunger to hunger before regular eating.

Results:

Across studies, hunger was significantly greater before binge eating compared with average hunger ratings, but was significantly lower before binge eating compared with before other eating episodes.

Discussion:

Excessive hunger does not appear to be a precipitant of binge eating because higher levels of hunger are observed before regular eating episodes. However, lower hunger before food consumption may contribute to the experience of a particular eating episode as a binge. © 2010 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2010)