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Int J Eat Disord. 2014 Apr;47(3):273-80. doi: 10.1002/eat.22171. Epub 2013 Sep 6.

Hedonic hunger and binge eating among women with eating disorders.

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Department of Psychology, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.



Hedonic hunger, the appetitive drive to eat to obtain pleasure in the absence of an energy deficit, is associated with overeating and with loss of control over eating, but has not been investigated among individuals with eating disorders.


(1) to compare participants with anorexia nervosa, restricting type (AN-R), anorexia nervosa, binge-purge type (AN-B/P), and bulimia nervosa (BN) on scores on the Power of Food Scale (PFS), a self-report measure of hedonic hunger; (2) to examine the relation between PFS scores and frequency of binge eating; and (3) to examine whether pre-treatment PFS scores predict weight change during treatment.


The PFS and measures of eating disorder symptomatology were administered to female patients with AN (N = 119) and BN (N = 144) at admission to residential treatment.


Participants with BN scored higher on the PFS compared to participants with AN-R or AN-B/P; there was a trend for those with AN-B/P to score higher than those with AN-R. PFS scores were positively associated with binge eating frequency among participants with BN; these associations remained significant when controlling for restraint and weight suppression. A similar pattern was found among participants with AN. PFS scores predicted weight change in AN but not BN.


Results suggest that hedonic processes may be important in stimulating binge eating. Furthermore, hedonic appetite may facilitate weight restoration in AN. Further research should investigate whether pre-treatment PFS scores have prognostic significance with respect to eating disorder symptoms.


anorexia nervosa; binge eating; bulimia nervosa; hedonic hunger

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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