Racial/ethnic differences in adults in randomized clinical trials of binge eating disorder

Debra L. Franko, Heather Thompson-Brenner, Douglas R. Thompson, Christina L. Boisseau, Angela Davis, Kelsie T. Forbush, James P. Roehrig, Susan W. Bryson, Cynthia M. Bulik, Scott J. Crow, Michael J. Devlin, Amy A. Gorin, Carlos M. Grilo, Jean L. Kristeller, Robin M. Masheb, James E. Mitchell, Carol B. Peterson, Debra L. Safer, Ruth H. Striegel, Denise E. WilfleyG. Terence Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Objective: Recent studies suggest that binge eating disorder (BED) is as prevalent among African American and Hispanic Americans as among Caucasian Americans; however, data regarding the characteristics of treatment-seeking individuals from racial and ethnic minority groups are scarce. The purpose of this study was to investigate racial/ethnic differences in demographic characteristics and eating disorder symptoms in participants enrolled in treatment trials for BED. Method: Data from 11 completed randomized, controlled trials were aggregated in a single database, the Clinical Trials of Binge Eating Disorder (CT-BED) database, which included 1,204 Caucasian, 120 African American, and 64 Hispanic participants assessed at baseline. Age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, body mass index (BMI), binge eating frequency, and Eating Disorder Examination (EDE) Restraint, Shape, Weight, and Eating Concern subscale scores were examined. Results: Mixed model analyses indicated that African American participants in BED treatment trials had higher mean BMI than Caucasian participants, and Hispanic participants had significantly greater EDE shape, weight, and eating concerns than Caucasian participants. No racial or ethnic group differences were found on the frequency of binge eating episodes. Observed racial/ethnic differences in BED symptoms were not substantially reduced after adjusting for BMI and education. Comparisons between the CT-BED database and epidemiological data suggest limitations to the generalizability of data from treatment-seeking samples to the BED community population, particularly regarding the population with lower levels of education. Conclusions: Further research is needed to assess alternative demographic, psychological, and culturally specific variables to better understand the diversity of treatment-seeking individuals with BED.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-195
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • binge eating
  • eating disorders
  • ethnicity
  • health disparities
  • treatment


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