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Compr Psychiatry. 2012 Nov;53(8):1088-95. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2012.05.003. Epub 2012 Jun 21.

Interpersonal problems and developmental trajectories of binge eating disorder.

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



The aim of the present study was to explore associations between specific interpersonal constructs and the developmental progression of behaviors leading to binge eating disorder (BED).


Eighty-four consecutively evaluated, treatment-seeking obese (body mass index ≥30 kg/m(2)) men and women with BED were assessed with structured diagnostic and clinical interviews and completed a battery of established measures to assess the current and developmental eating- and weight-related variables as well as interpersonal functioning.


Using the interpersonal circumplex structural summary method, amplitude, elevation, the affiliation dimension, and the quadratic coefficient for the dominance dimension were associated with eating- and weight-related developmental variables. The amplitude coefficient and more extreme interpersonal problems on the dominance dimension (quadratic)-that is, problems with being extremely high (domineering) or low in dominance (submissive)-were significantly associated with a younger age at onset of binge eating, BED, and overweight as well as accounted for significant variance in age at binge eating, BED, and overweight onset. Greater interpersonal problems with having an overly affiliative interpersonal style were significantly associated with and accounted for significant variance in a younger age at diet onset.


Findings provide further support for the importance of interpersonal problems among adults with BED and converge with recent work highlighting the importance of specific types of interpersonal problems for understanding heterogeneity and different developmental trajectories of individuals with BED.

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