The examination of psychopathology in subgroups of obese patients is a new area of research in psychiatry. This project studied rates and types of psychopathology among obese subjects meeting the proposed DSM-IV criteria of binge eating disorder (BED) and obese subjects without BED. One hundred obese women with a mean age of 39.2 years and a mean body mass index (BMI) of 35.9 kg/m2 were evaluated using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R (SCID-Modified Version) and a self-rating personality inventory, Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire-Revised (PDQ-R), before entering a treatment study for weight reduction. Those subjects meeting proposed DSM-IV criteria for BED had significantly higher lifetime rates for an axis I diagnosis compared with those that did not meet criteria for BED. Subjects with BED showed higher rates of lifetime affective disorder and bulimia nervosa, but did not differ on any other axis I diagnoses. Axis II cluster B and cluster C diagnoses were found more frequently among BED subjects. The specific diagnoses of histrionic, borderline, and avoidant personality disorders were found significantly more often among BED subjects. The results support the idea that binge eating may identify a distinct subgroup among the obese population who have significantly higher rates of certain forms of psychopathology on both Axis I and Axis II. The findings of increased rates of depression are consistent with other studies and suggest that our treatment modalities need to address this problem.