Open Access Repository

Psychological and psychophysiological correlates of binge eating

Fullarton, Shona L.(Shona Lee) 2003 , 'Psychological and psychophysiological correlates of binge eating', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

PDF (Whole thesis)
whole_Fullarton...pdf | Download (23MB)
Available under University of Tasmania Standard License.

| Preview


Binge Eating Disorder (BED) has been included in the Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV; American
Psychiatric Association [APA], 1994), as a new diagnostic condition that
requires further investigation. The main feature of BED is uncontrolled binge
eating, which overlaps with the DSM-IV (APA, 1994) diagnostic criteria of
Bulimia Nervosa (BN). In contrast to BN, BED commonly occurs in
overweight people. It has been speculated that individuals with BED represents
a subset of the obese population. Therefore, there is debate as to whether BED is
a distinct diagnostic entity, is a less severe form of BN, or is a manifestation of
disturbed eating that does not warrant psychiatric status. The aim of this research
was to clarify whether BED characterises disturbed or disordered eating.
A range of factors have been identified that may contribute to the
development of disturbed or disordered eating. There is evidence to suggest that
there is some overlap in the factors associated with the development of BN, BED
and obesity. However, the behaviour of each of these groups indicates that the
processes involved may be different. The continuity model of eating proposes
that eating behaviour is distributed along a continuum, with normal eating
occurring at one end, disordered eating at the other, with disturbed eating
occurring at a point in between these. In terms of the continuity model, two
propositions are raised with regard to BED. Proposition 1 speculates that the
behaviour of individuals with BED represents disordered eating and, therefore, is
more similar to BN. Proposition 2 states that BED represents disturbed eating
and, therefore, individuals with BED are more similar to overweight individuals
in terms of behaviour.
Four groups were involved in this study. The first group all engaged in
binge eating and compensatory purging behaviours. Most of this group currently
had a diagnosis of BN although a small number currently did not meet the
frequency of binge eating criterion and would be diagnosed with an Eating
Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS). The second group met the
diagnostic criteria for BED. The third group did not engage in binge eating or
purging behaviours but were overweight (OW) with a Body Mass Index greater
than 25. Finally, a normal weight group (NW) who did not display disturbed or
disordered eating was included for control purposes.
In Study 1, self-report and semi-structured interviews were administered
to determine demographic characteristics, along with measures of eating and
general symptomatology. BN and BED groups differed in demographic
characteristics, whereas the BED and OW groups were more similar. In terms of
symptomatology, the BN group reported the highest levels, with the BED group
being more similar to the BN than OW group.
In Study 2, 3, and 4, a five stage, personalised guided imagery
methodology was utilised. Study 2 examined objective and subjective
psychophysiological responses to binge eating or overeating, with comparisons
being made to normal eating and non-eating neutral events. There was little
evidence of variation between groups on objective measures of arousal across the
binge episode. In contrast, for subjective measures, whereas the overall pattern
of response was similar for all groups, the intensity of the response was greater
for the BN and BED groups. For example, the BN and BED groups reported
higher levels of tension and physical discomfort than the OW and NW groups.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Fullarton, Shona L.(Shona Lee)
Keywords: Compulsive eating, Compulsive eating
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2003 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

For consultation only. No loan or photocopying permitted until November 2005. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 2004. Includes bibliographical references

Item Statistics: View statistics for this item

Actions (login required)

Item Control Page Item Control Page