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Addict Behav. 1990;15(3):291-5.

Heterogeneity of clinical presentation among obese individuals seeking treatment.

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Northwestern University Medical School, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Chicago, IL 60611.


This study provides a test for the assumption of psychological homogeneity among 60 individuals who sought treatment for obesity and were referred for cognitive-behavioral group treatment. Subjects were divided along the dimension of severity of psychopathology and were assessed on subjective distress, binge eating, coping ability, and a variety of historical and demographic dimensions. Twenty-three percent of the sample scored in a range indicative of significant personality disturbance on the Borderline Syndrome Index. This distressed group did not differ from the less distressed cohort in weight, but reported more extensive symptoms of psychopathology, more chaotic eating patterns, more binge eating, and evidenced less effective coping skills. These findings provide support for the importance of a thorough assessment prior to initiating treatment for obesity.

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