Binge eating and social anxiety in treatment-seeking adolescents with eating disorders or severe obesity
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PURPOSE: Binge eating is a common behavior in children and adolescents who suffer from either eating disorders (EDs) or from severe obesity. The purpose of the current study was to explore the association between social anxiety and binge eating and compare prevalence rates of social anxiety between youth with severe obesity or EDs who did or did not engage in binge eating. METHODS: Retrospective data on treatment-seeking youth's (n = 490) eating behaviors and social anxiety at assessment were analyzed. RESULTS: Results indicate that those who engage in binge eating have higher rates of social anxiety; frequency of binges does not predict severity of social anxiety, though social anxiety predicts presence of binge eating. Adolescents with EDs had higher rates of social anxiety than those with obesity, and for both groups, rates of social anxiety were highest in those who binge. CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians who treat youth with EDs and with obesity should be aware of the relationship between binge eating and social anxiety and of the need for treatment to address both these disorders. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level V, cross-sectional descriptive study.
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