Overeating and binge eating in emerging adulthood: 10-Year stability and risk factors

Andrea B. Goldschmidt, Melanie M. Wall, Jun Zhang, Katie A. Loth, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


Overeating (eating an unusually large amount of food) and binge eating (overeating with loss of control [LOC]) predict adverse health consequences in adolescence. We aimed to characterize the stability of and risk factors for these distinct but interrelated constructs during critical developmental transitions. We used a Population-Based sample (n = 1,902) that completed surveys at 5-Year intervals spanning adolescence and young adulthood. The trajectories of no overeating, overeating, binge eating, and binge eating disorder (BED; recurrent binge eating with associated distress) were characterized using crosstabulations. Body mass index, depressive symptoms, Self-Esteem, and body satisfaction were examined as risk factors for no overeating, overeating, and binge eating (including BED) 5-Years later using multinomial logistic regression. We found that all overeating categories tended to remit to no overeating at 5-Year Follow-Up. Although overeating had the lowest remittance rates at each Time-Point, binge eating and BED showed higher rates of persistence or worsening of symptoms during the transition from late adolescence/early young adulthood to early/middle young adulthood. Overeating and binge eating had similar risk factors, although for females, depressive symptoms, body satisfaction, and Self-Eesteem in late adolescence/early young adulthood differentially predicted binge eating versus overeating in early/middle young adulthood (ps ≤.05). While overeating with or without LOC tends to remit over time, problematic eating persists for a subset of individuals. Greater psychosocial problems in late adolescence/early young adulthood predicted greater odds of binge eating relative to overeating in early/middle young adulthood among females, indicating that poorer psychosocial functioning in this developmental stage portends more severe Eating-Related psychopathology later in life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-483
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Binge eating
  • Course
  • Loss of control
  • Overeating
  • Risk factors

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