Objective: The subjective experience of loss of control (LOC) during eating, independent of overeating, may be a salient marker of disordered eating and risk for overweight in youth. However, few studies have directly tested this notion in an adequately powered sample.
Method: Three-hundred-sixty-seven youth (M ± SD age = 12.7 ± 2.8 y) were categorized as reporting objective binge eating (OBE; 12.5%), subjective binge eating (SBE; 11.4%), objective overeating without LOC (OO; 18.5%), or no episodes (NE; 57.5%). Disordered eating attitudes, general psychopathology, and adiposity were assessed.
Results: Children with OBE and SBE generally did not differ in their disordered eating attitudes, emotional eating, eating in the absence of hunger, depressive and anxiety symptoms, or adiposity. However, both OBE and SBE youth had significantly greater disordered eating attitudes, emotional eating, eating in the absence of hunger, depressive and anxiety symptoms, and adiposity compared to those with OO or NE (ps < .05).
Discussion: For non-treatment-seeking youth, LOC during eating episodes, rather than episode size, appears to be the most salient marker of eating and weight problems.
© 2009 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.