Overvaluation of shape and weight in binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, and sub-threshold bulimia nervosa

Carlos M. Grilo, Ross D. Crosby, Robin M. Masheb, Marney A. White, Carol B Peterson, Stephen A. Wonderlich, Scott G. Engel, Scott J Crow, James E. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Increasing empirical evidence supports the validity of binge eating disorder (BED), a research diagnosis in the appendix of DSM-IV, and its inclusion as a distinct and formal diagnosis in the DSM-V. A pressing question regarding the specific criteria for BED diagnosis is whether, like bulimia nervosa (BN), it should be characterized by overvaluation of shape and weight. This study compared features of eating disorders in 436 treatment-seeking women comprising four groups: 195 BED participants who overvalue their shape/weight, 129 BED participants with subclinical levels of overvaluation, 61 BN participants, and 51 participants with sub-threshold BN. The BED clinical overvaluation group had significantly higher levels of specific eating disorder psychopathology than the three other groups which did not differ significantly from each other. Findings suggest that overvaluation of shape and weight should not be considered as a required criterion for BED because this would exclude a substantial proportion of BED patients with clinically significant problems. Rather, overvaluation of shape and weight warrants consideration either as a diagnostic specifier or as a dimensional severity rating as it provides important information about severity within BED.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)692-696
Number of pages5
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by the National Institutes of Health (DK056735, DK49587, DK071646, DK070052, MHDK058820, and MH65919).


  • Binge eating disorder
  • Body image
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Obesity
  • Shape and weight concerns


Dive into the research topics of 'Overvaluation of shape and weight in binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, and sub-threshold bulimia nervosa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this