Incidence of chaotic eating behaviors in binge-eating disorder: contributing factors

Behav Med. 2002 Fall;28(3):99-105. doi: 10.1080/08964280209596048.


Because dieting is not as common in patients with binge-eating disorder (BED) as among patients with bulimia or anorexia nervosa, the authors assessed the incidence, frequency, and contributing factors of semistarvation-like eating patterns in BED patients in this study, the first to explore such behaviors in a clinical population. They administered the Semistarvation-Associated Behaviors Scale (SSABS) to 54 women seeking BED treatment and to 29 controls. The aberrant eating behaviors among BED clients were associated with current dieting and certain BED criteria, (p < .05). The strongest contributor to chaotic eating patterns was negative affect preceding BED (r = .45, p < .001). This finding highlights the behavioral psychopathology of BED and strengthens the role of negative affect in precipitating binge episodes associated with the disorder. These behaviors may help maintain BED by creating a binge-negative affect cycle. The SSABS is a tool that may help break this cycle.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Anorexia Nervosa / diagnosis
  • Anorexia Nervosa / epidemiology*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / therapy
  • Bulimia Nervosa / diagnosis
  • Bulimia Nervosa / epidemiology*
  • Bulimia Nervosa / therapy
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Periodicity*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires