Document Type


Publication Date

January 2010

Journal or Book Title

Behaviour Research and Therapy






As publication of DSM-V draws near, research is needed to validate the diagnostic scheme for binge eating disorder (BED). Shape and weight overvaluation has stimulated considerable debate in this regard, given associations with psychosocial impairment and poor treatment outcome in BED. This study sought to further explore the convergent validity and diagnostic specificity of shape and weight overvaluation in BED. A total of 160 women with BED, and 108 women with non-eating disordered psychiatric disorders were recruited from the community. Women with BED were classified as more or less severe based on a global measure of eating-related psychopathology; subsequent receiver operating characteristics analysis determined that a threshold of at least “moderate” overvaluation best predicted membership into a more severe group. BED participants with threshold overvaluation exhibited poorer psychosocial functioning than those with subthreshold overvaluation, as well as participants with other psychiatric disorders. Discriminant function analysis revealed that threshold overvaluation predicted a diagnosis of BED versus other psychiatric disorder with 67.7% accuracy. Results suggest that shape and weight overvaluation is a useful diagnostic specifier in BED. Continued research is warranted to examine its predictive validity in natural course and treatment outcome studies.

Keywords: Binge eating disorder, overvaluation of shape and weight, weight and shape concerns, classification

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