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Int J Eat Disord. 1994 Jan;15(1):43-52.

Eating related and general psychopathology in obese females with binge eating disorder.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Vienna, Austria.


One hundred obese women with a mean age of 39.2 years, and a mean body mass index (BMI) of 35.9 kg/m2 were evaluated before entering a treatment study for weight reduction. According to the results of a structured interview, subjects were divided into four groups: (1) no overeating episodes, (2) episodic overeating episodes without the feeling of loss of control, (3) overeating plus the sense of loss of control (binge eating), and (4) full diagnostic criteria for binge eating disorder (BED). One-way analyses of variance (ANOVAs) revealed significant positive associations between binge eating and eating/weight-related characteristics such as a history of frequent weight fluctuations, the amount of time spent dieting, drive for thinness, and a tendency for disinhibition of eating. Furthermore, subjects exhibited more feelings of ineffectiveness, stronger perfectionistic attitudes, more impulsivity, less self-esteem, and less interoceptive awareness the more problems with binge eating they reported. The results support the idea that binge eaters might be a distinct subgroup among the obese population, and corroborate the utility of a diagnosis of BED in identifying the most disturbed obese subjects with regard to the variables tested.

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