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Behav Res Ther. 2005 May;43(5):629-37.

Body checking and avoidance and the core features of eating disorders among obese men and women seeking bariatric surgery.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Yale Psychiatric Research, Yale University School of Medicine, P.O. Box 208098, 301 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


This study examined two aspects of body checking and avoidance, and their relations to the core psychopathology of eating disorders (EDs), in severely obese men and women seeking bariatric surgery. A consecutive series of 260 (44 male and 216 female) gastric bypass candidates were administered measures to assess body checking and avoidance, binge eating, restraint, and overevaluation of weight and shape. The majority of patients reported regularly pinching areas of their body to check for fatness and avoided wearing clothing that made them particularly aware of their body. Significant associations were observed between checking and restraint, and between avoidance and binge eating. Both checking and avoidance behaviors were significantly associated with overevaluation of weight and shape. The positive associations between each of the two behaviors (body checking and avoidance) with overevaluation of weight/shape remained significant even after controlling for the effects of avoidance on body checking and vice versa. Stepwise multiple regression analyses revealed that binge eating, body checking, and avoidance behaviors made significant unique contributions and jointly accounted for 22-25% of the variance in overevaluation of weight and shape, respectively. This study documents the presence of eating disorder psychopathology among severely obese patients seeking bariatric surgery. The findings support the view that body checking and avoidance behaviors are manifestations of overevaluation of weight and shape and disordered eating.

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