In this study, our principal aim was to investigate whether metacognitions about desire thinking predict the severity of binge eating in women and, if so, whether this relationship is independent of age, self-reported body mass index (BMI), negative affect, irrational food beliefs and craving. One hundred and four women, consisting of 32 consecutive patients with binge eating disorder undergoing initial assessment for cognitive therapy for eating disorders, 39 moderate binge eaters, and 33 non-binge eaters (both from the general population), completed the following measures: Self-reported BMI, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Irrational Food Beliefs Scale, General Craving Scale, Metacognitions about Desire Thinking Questionnaire, and Binge Eating Scale. A series of Spearman's rho correlation analyses revealed that self-reported BMI, anxiety, depression, irrational food beliefs, craving, and all three factors of the metacognitions about desire thinking questionnaire were significantly associated with the severity of binge eating. A stepwise regression analysis identified self-reported BMI, craving, and negative metacognitions about desire thinking as significant predictors of the severity of binge eating. These results, taken together, highlight the possible role of metacognitions about desire thinking in predicting the severity of binge eating. The clinical implications of these findings are discussed.
Keywords: Binge eating; Binge eating disorder; Craving; Irrational food beliefs; Metacognitions about desire thinking; Negative affect, self-reported body mass index.