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Health Psychol. 2002 Mar;21(2):131-8.

Risk factors for binge eating onset in adolescent girls: a 2-year prospective investigation.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, 78712, USA.


Because little is known about the predictors of binge eating (a risk factor for obesity), a set of putative risk factors for binge eating was investigated in a longitudinal study of adolescent girls. Results verified that binge eating predicted obesity onset. Elevated dieting, pressure to be thin, modeling of eating disturbances, appearance overvaluation, body dissatisfaction, depressive symptoms, emotional eating, body mass, and low self-esteem and social support predicted binge eating onset with 92% accuracy. Classification tree analysis revealed an interaction between appearance overvaluation, body mass, dieting, and depressive symptoms, suggesting qualitatively different pathways to binge eating and identifying subgroups at extreme risk for this outcome. Results support the assertion that these psychosocial and biological factors increase risk for binge eating.

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