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Compr Psychiatry. 2011 Nov-Dec;52(6):693-700. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2010.12.007. Epub 2011 Feb 5.

Parental substance use history of overweight men and women with binge eating disorder is associated with distinct developmental trajectories and comorbid mood disorder.

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Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, PO Box 208098, New Haven, CT 06520, USA. Kerstin.Blomquist@Yale.Edu



To examine the significance of parental histories of substance use disorders (SUDs) in the expression of binge eating disorder (BED) and associated functioning.


Participants were 127 overweight patients with BED assessed using diagnostic interviews. Participants were administered a structured psychiatric history interview about their parents (N = 250) and completed a battery of questionnaires assessing current and historical eating and weight variables and associated psychological functioning (depression and self-esteem).


Patients with BED with a parental history of SUD were significantly more likely to start binge eating before dieting, had a significantly earlier age at BED onset, and reported less time between binge eating onset and meeting diagnostic criteria for BED than did patients without a parental history of SUD. For psychiatric comorbidity, patients with BED with a parental history of SUD were significantly more likely to meet the criteria for a mood disorder. A parental history of SUD was not significantly associated with variability in current levels of binge eating, eating disorder psychopathology, or psychological functioning.


Our findings suggest that a parental history of SUD is associated with certain distinct trajectories in the development of binge eating (earlier binge onset predating dieting onset) and with elevated rates of comorbidity with mood disorders in patients with BED.

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