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Exploring Alexithymia, Depression, and Binge Eating in Self-Reported Eating Disorders in Women

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Binge eating is often a way of life for many women even if the diagnostic criteria for the tentative DSM-IV-TR diagnosis of binge eating disorder is not met. METHODS: 

Binge eating was conceptualized as a problem in affect regulation. Affective indices of alexithymia and depression were measure with the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS), the Alexithymia-Provoked Response Questionnaire (APQR), and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), respectively. This study was an exploratory study of 65 subjects, 35 of whom self-reported as eating disordered and 30 as non-eating disordered. FINDINGS: 

Of the eating-disordered subjects, 95% scored significantly on the Eating Habits Checklist as binge eaters, 18% as anorexic, and 23% as bulimic. Significant relationships were found between alexithymia and binge eating and depression. A stepwise logistic regression found that both alexithymia and depression discriminated between women with and without binge eating at .001 and .002, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: 

This study found that alexithymia was more highly correlated with binge eating than with either anorexia or bulimia. In addition, a significant history of trauma and health problems for those who reported as binge eaters was reported. Implications for practice are discussed.

Keywords: Binge eating; alexithymia; depression

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Fairfield University School of Nursing, Fairfield, Connecticut.

Publication date: July 1, 2005


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