Comparing Symptomatic and Functional Outcomes Over 5 Years in Two Nonclinical Cohorts Characterized by Binge Eating With and Without Objectively Large Episodes

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Objective:The aim was to compare symptomatic and functional outcomes over 5 years in women with regular subjective (SBEs), objective (OBEs), and no regular binge eating episodes.Method:Data were derived from two cohorts of 330 women with high levels of eating disorders symptoms followed over 5 years. Three groups were formed: (a) regular SBEs but no regular OBEs (N = 68), (b) regular OBEs with or without regular SBEs (N = 154), and (c) with no regular binge eating episodes (N = 108).Results:At baseline, the groups did not differ significantly in restraint scores and quality of life. People in the OBE group scored higher than those in the SBE group in body mass index (BMI). Those who had no regular binge eating had lower global Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q) and weight and shape concern scores than those with regular SBEs, and lower eating concern scores than either binge eating groups. Across the follow-up, there were no significant effects of being in either binge eating or the nonbinge eating group on the rates of change in BMI, general psychological distress, quality of life, or EDE-Q scores with the exception that OBE group had a significantly different rate of change in eating concern and psychological distress compared to the group without regular binge eating.Discussion:Individuals that report regular SBEs without regular OBEs represent a group with similar mental hardship and outcomes to those with regular OBEs. The findings support inclusion of regular SBEs in criteria for eating disorder diagnostic categories characterized by recurrent binge eating. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2015; 48:1158–1165).

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