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J Consult Clin Psychol. 2007 Feb;75(1):175-80.

Overvaluation of shape and weight in binge eating disorder.

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Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06519, USA.


The excessive influence of shape or weight on self-evaluation--referred to as overvaluation--is considered by some a central feature across eating disorders but is not a diagnostic requirement for binge eating disorder (BED). This study examined shape/weight overvaluation in 399 consecutive patients with BED. Participants completed semistructured interviews, including the Eating Disorder Examination (EDE; C. G. Fairburn & Z. Cooper, 1993) and several self-report measures. Shape/weight overvaluation was unrelated to body mass index (BMI) but was strongly associated with measures of eating-related psychopathology and psychological status (i.e., higher depression and lower self-esteem). Participants were categorized via EDE guidelines into 1 of 2 groups: clinical overvaluation (58%) or subclinical overvaluation (42%). The 2 groups did not differ significantly in BMI or binge eating frequency, but the clinical overvaluation group had significantly greater eating-related psychopathology and poorer psychological status than the subclinical overvaluation group. Findings suggest that overvaluation does not simply reflect concern commensurate with being overweight but is strongly associated with eating-related psychopathology and psychological functioning and warrants consideration as a diagnostic feature for BED.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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