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Restrictive eating behaviors are a nonweight-based marker of severity in anorexia nervosa


  • An additional three individuals participated in the study, but they were excluded from all analyses because their compliance rate for random-signal reports in the EMA protocol was less than 50%.

  • Other EMA measures in the protocol that are not reported on in this study were assessments of affective states, self-discrepancy, stressful events, and other eating disordered behaviors/rituals.



The purpose of this study was to compare the type and frequency of restrictive eating behaviors across the two subtypes of anorexia nervosa (AN; restricting [ANr] and binge eating/purging [ANbp]) using ecological momentary assessment (EMA) and to determine whether subtype differences in restrictive eating behaviors were attributable to severity of the disorder or the frequency of binge eating.


Participants (N = 118) were women at least 18 years of age with full (n = 59) or subthreshold (n = 59) AN who participated in a two week (EMA) protocol.


General estimating equations revealed that individuals with ANbp generally reported more frequent restrictive eating behaviors than individuals with ANr. These differences were mostly accounted for by greater severity of eating psychopathology, indicating that the presence and frequency of restrictive eating behaviors in AN may be nonweight-based markers of severity. Binge eating frequency did not account for these findings.


The present findings are especially interesting in light of the weight-based severity rating in the DSM-5. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2013; 46:849–854)

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