A qualitative analysis of men's experiences of binge eating
Binge eating disorder (BED) is characterized by recurrent overeating episodes, accompanied by loss of control (LOC), in the absence of compensatory behaviors. The literature supports that men overeat as often or more often than do women, but they are less likely to endorse LOC and other BED symptoms. Thus, rates of BED are lower among men. However, differences in prevalence rates may reflect gender bias in current conceptualizations of eating disorders and BED diagnostic criteria, not necessarily truly lower rates of disordered eating among men. The purpose of this study was to gather detailed information about how men experience overeating and related body image concerns, to identify common themes. The grounded theory approach was utilized to examine narratives from 11 overweight/obese male college students about their experiences with overeating, with results suggesting that overeating is consistent with male gender role, but LOC is not. Other overeating themes included mindless eating, emotional antecedents, negative consequences, unintentional dietary restriction, and social encouragement to overeat. Participants also reported dissatisfaction with their bodies, a desire for their bodies to be both muscular and thin, concerns related to their physical functioning and health, and a distinction between body image and self-worth. Collectively, these themes suggest further study to more fully explore the features and consequences of how disordered eating and body image concerns may manifest among men.
Link to Published Version
Carey, J. B., Saules, K. K., & Carr, M. M. (2017). A qualitative analysis of men’s experiences of binge eating. Appetite, 116, 184–195. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2017.04.030