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OBJECTIVE: Binge eating disorder was introduced in DSM-IV as a psychiatric disorder needing further study. This community-based study describes the relationship between race and clinical functioning in black and white women with and without binge eating disorder. METHOD: A group of 150 women with binge eating disorder (52 black, 98 white) and a race-matched group of 150 healthy comparison subjects were recruited from the community. Eating and psychiatric symptoms were assessed through interviews and self-report. RESULTS: Black and white women with binge eating disorder differed significantly on numerous eating disorder features, including binge frequency, restraint, history of other eating disorders, treatment-seeking behavior, and concerns with eating, weight, and shape. Black and white healthy comparison subjects differed significantly in obesity rates. CONCLUSIONS: For both black and white women, binge eating disorder was associated with significant impairment in clinical functioning. Yet, racial differences in clinical presentation underscore the importance of considering race in psychopathology research.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Psychiatry

Publication Date





1455 - 1460


Acculturation, Adolescent, Adult, African Americans, Age Factors, Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, Bulimia, Comorbidity, Diagnosis, Differential, Educational Status, European Continental Ancestry Group, Female, Humans, Mental Disorders, Obesity, Severity of Illness Index, United States