An Interactive Model Studies Binge Eating Among Men

A trio of risky traits helped identify increased binge eating among college men.

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
January/February Volume 26, Number 1
©2015 iaedp

The lifetime prevalence of binge eating disorder, or BED, is quite similar among men and women, and subclinical binge eating might be more common in men than in women (Biol Psychiatry. 2007; 61:348). In spite of this, just as with other eating disorders, most BED measures have been designed to study women.

Dr. Allison M. Minnich and colleagues applied Joiner’s triple interaction model for binge eating in a study of 302 male undergraduates from a large Midwestern University (Eat Behav. 2014; 15:625). The triple interaction model, which examines the effects of the combination of high perfectionism, high body dissatisfaction, and low self-esteem, was developed after Joiner et al. (1997) reported that perfectionism was a risk factor for bulimic symptoms for women who perceived themselves as overweight.

Dr. Minnich and her team sought to show that the triple interaction model could also be used to predict binge eating among college men. The researchers recruited participants from undergraduate psychology classes at a Midwestern university. The men completed self-report questionnaires on a secure online system at two different time points at least 8 weeks apart (Time 1 and Time 2) and received course credit for their participation. The mean age of the men who completed the assignment was 19.2 years (age range: 18-24 years).

The study showed that at Time 1, perfectionism, body dissatisfaction, and self-esteem did, in fact, predict binge eating. Interestingly, the three variables were not associated with depression or anxiety. Thus, the model appeared to be specific for disordered eating. This interesting work suggests that similar variables may lead to binge eating in both women and men.

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