Maladaptive eating behavior assessment among bariatric surgery candidates: Evaluation of the Eating Disorder Diagnostic Scale



      Eating pathology among bariatric surgery candidates is common and associated with adverse outcomes. However, its assessment is complicated by the inconsistent use of standardized measures. We addressed this by examining the use of the Eating Disorder Diagnostic Scale (EDDS) in a large bariatric sample (N = 343).


      To evaluate the EDDS among bariatric surgery candidates via examination of: (1) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, text revision (DSM-IV-TR) and fifth edition (DSM-5) rates of binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, and maladaptive eating behaviors, and (2) the relationship between response biases and self-reported eating disorder symptoms.


      Participants were bariatric surgery candidates at a large public hospital in the Midwest.


      As part of a larger preoperative evaluation, 343 patients seeking bariatric surgery completed the EDDS and measures of problematic response bias.


      Approximately 16% of the sample met full threshold criteria for binge eating disorder using DSM-5 criteria. Using the DSM-IV-TR, rates were lower but still substantial at 13%. Rates for bulimia nervosa were 8% (DSM-5) and 6% (DSM-IV-TR). The majority (66.1%) of participants reported at least one binge-eating episode per week. The most commonly used compensatory behavior was fasting (20.4%), followed by excessive exercise (11.7%), laxative use (5.6%), and vomiting (1.8%). An inverse relationship between severity of the eating symptomatology and problematic response bias emerged.


      The EDDS shows promise as a screening tool that uses diagnostic criteria to provide rates of binge eating and eating psychopathology among surgical candidates. Our findings suggest that subsequent validation studies of this measure are needed, should address potential response bias concerns, and should employ clear definitions of binge eating to promote standardization of eating pathology assessment in the bariatric population.


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