Cognitive-behavioral theories of eating disorders

Behav Modif. 2004 Nov;28(6):711-38. doi: 10.1177/0145445503259853.


This article presents an integrated cognitive-behavioral theory of eating disorders that is based on hypotheses developed over the past 30 years. The theory is evaluated using a selected review of the eating disorder literature pertaining to cognitive biases, negative emotional reactions, binge eating, compensatory behaviors, and risk factors for eating disorders. In general, hypotheses derived from cognitive-behavioral theories have been supported by a variety of research studies. The implications of these findings for treatment and prevention of eating disorders are discussed. This review of the literature serves as a conceptual base for some of the other articles that are included in this special issue of Behavior Modification. The article concludes with an introduction to six articles that discuss issues related to psychiatric classification, assessment, treatment, and prevention of eating disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Psychological Theory*
  • Risk Factors