Psychopathology correlates of binge eating and binge eating disorder
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The present study examined the psychopathology associated with binge eating disorder (BED), a new diagnostic category proposed for DSM-IV to classify patients with significant binge eating problems in the absence of purging. Self-report measures of psychopathology (e.g., depression, anxiety) and body image disturbance were administered to 72 women who prospectively (1) met criteria for BED (DSM-IV criteria), (2) reported frequent bingeing but did not meet BED criteria, and (3) denied problems with eating. Subjects satisfying BED criteria reported higher levels of psychopathology than normals on all measures and subclinical binge eaters scored between these two groups, but they were closer to subjects without eating problems. The pattern of results was essentially unchanged when corrected for weight. BED subjects and subclinical binge eaters were less satisfied with their bodies than were normal controls. These findings suggest that BED is not only characterized by frequent bingeing, but more importantly is associated with elevated psychopathology. Overall, these results lend support to the diagnostic criteria proposed for BED.
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