Characterizing Loss of Control Associated With Binge Eating in College-Age Men

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BACKGROUND: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.) identifies key features of binge eating (BE) to include the consumption of a large amount of food and the perception of loss of control (LOC) over eating during a distinct episode. While earlier research has focused on food consumption, findings are now emerging on the role of LOC associated with the BE episodes, particularly in women. However, it is unclear that these findings are applicable to men without knowing how men experience LOC associated with BE. AIMS: This study examined how college-age men describe LOC associated with BE. METHOD: Previously collected qualitative data from a study examining BE in college age-students were used to examine responses from 53 men (mean age 19.9 ± 1.1 [SD] years). Respondents were asked about their individual experiences of LOC associated with BE episodes. Data were analyzed using content analysis. RESULTS: Four categories emerged from the data: (1) keep eating, (2) can’t stop, (3) without thinking, and (4) food so good. CONCLUSIONS: Findings extend the current understanding of LOC associated with BE in men and point to potential gender differences, and/or weight influences, based on previous reports. Identified categories may be potentially targeted areas for tailored therapy to enhance awareness and self-regulation of BE behavior.

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Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association