Psychiatric disorder co-morbidity and correlates in an ethnically diverse sample of obese patients with binge eating disorder in primary care settings

Compr Psychiatry. 2013 Apr;54(3):209-16. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2012.07.012. Epub 2012 Aug 31.


Objective: To examine DSM-IV lifetime/current psychiatric disorder co-morbidity and correlates in ethnically-diverse obese patients with binge eating disorder (BED) seeking treatment for obesity and binge eating in primary care.

Method: A consecutive series of 142 participants (43% Caucasian, 37% African-American, 13% Hispanic-American, and 7% "other" ethnicity) were evaluated with semi-structured interviews.

Results: 67% of BED patients had at least one additional lifetime psychiatric disorder, with mood (49%), anxiety (41%), and substance-use (22%) disorders most common. In terms of current co-morbidity, 37% had at least one other psychiatric disorder, with anxiety (27%) and mood (17%) most common. Few gender differences were observed but psychiatric co-morbidity rates differed across ethnic/racial groups with larger differences for current diagnoses. African-American and Hispanic groups were more than twice as likely as the Caucasian group to have additional current psychiatric disorders, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders. Psychiatric co-morbidity was associated with greater eating-disorder psychopathology and poorer functioning, but not with binge-eating or BMI.

Conclusion: Our study presents new findings suggesting that among obese BED patients in primary care, ethnic/racial minority groups are more likely than Caucasian groups to present with psychiatric co-morbidity. Within BED, psychiatric co-morbidity shows few gender differences but is associated with greater eating-disorder psychopathology and poorer functioning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / ethnology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / ethnology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / ethnology
  • Primary Health Care
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Racial Groups
  • Sex Distribution