Latent profile analysis of eating episodes in anorexia nervosa

Andrea B. Goldschmidt*, Stephen A. Wonderlich, Ross D. Crosby, Li Cao, Scott G. Engel, Jason M. Lavender, James E. Mitchell, Scott J. Crow, Carol B. Peterson, Daniel Le Grange

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Despite being characterized primarily by disturbances in eating behavior, relatively little is known about specific eating behaviors in anorexia nervosa (AN) and how they relate to different emotional, behavioral, and environmental features. Methods: Women with AN (n=118) completed a 2-week ecological momentary assessment (EMA) protocol during which they reported on daily eating- and mood-related patterns. Latent profile analysis was used to identify classes of eating episodes based on the presence or absence of the following indicators: loss of control; overeating; eating by oneself; food avoidance; and dietary restraint. Results: The best-fitting model supported a 5-class solution: avoidant eating; solitary eating; binge eating; restrictive eating; and loss of control eating. The loss of control and binge eating classes were characterized by high levels of concurrent negative affect and a greater likelihood of engaging in compensatory behaviors. The restrictive eating class was associated with the greatest number of concurrently-reported stressful events, while the avoidant and solitary eating episode classes were characterized by relatively few accompanying stressful events. Body checking was least likely to occur in conjunction with restrictive eating behaviors. Conclusions: Results support the presence of discrete types of eating episodes in AN that are associated with varying degrees of negative affect, stress, and behavioral features of eating disorders. Loss of control and dietary restriction may serve distinct functional purposes in AN, as highlighted by their differing associations with negative affect and stress. Clinical interventions for AN may benefit from targeting functional aspects of eating behavior among those with the disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-199
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Binge eating
  • Dietary restriction
  • Eating behavior
  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • Negative affect


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