Comparison of Patients With Bulimia Nervosa, Obese Patients With Binge Eating Disorder, and Nonobese Patients With Binge Eating Disorder

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This study compared patients with bulimia nervosa (BN), obese patients with binge eating disorder (BED), and nonobese patients with BED. One hundred sixty-two adult women consecutively evaluated for outpatient clinical trials who met DSM-IV criteria for BN, purging type (N = 46) or for BED (N = 79 obese and N = 37 nonobese) were compared using the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI). The three groups differed significantly on two (drive for thinness and body dissatisfaction) of the three eating-related scales and on all five of the general personality scales of the EDI. When age and depression level were controlled, findings for the eating-related scales did not change, whereas four of the five general personality scales were no longer significant. Post hoc analyses revealed that the BN group and the nonobese BED group had significantly higher drive for thinness than the obese BED group. The nonobese and the obese BED groups did not differ from each other in any area (other than drive for thinness), including body dissatisfaction. The nonobese and the obese BED groups had significantly lower maturity features than the BN group. Our findings suggest that when the effects of age and depression levels are controlled, treatment-seeking women with BN and BED are generally similar. Certain differences that do exist between women with BN and BED are associated with obesity status (drive for thinness), whereas others are associated with diagnosis (body dissatisfaction, maturity fears).

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