Perceptions and experiences of appetite awareness training among African-American women who binge eat

  • Rachel W. GoodeEmail author
  • Melissa A. Kalarchian
  • Linda Craighead
  • Molly B. Conroy
  • Tiffany Gary-Webb
  • Elizabeth Bennett
  • Mariah M. Cowell
  • Lora E. Burke
Original Article



Binge eating may contribute to the prevalence of obesity in African-American women. Yet, there has been scant intervention research on the treatment of binge eating in this population. We tested the feasibility of an appetite awareness training (AAT) intervention in a sample of African-American women with binge and overeating behaviors. Participants who completed AAT were recruited to participate in focus groups to elicit information about their perceptions and experiences with this intervention to inform the design of future interventions to treat binge eating and obesity in African-American women.


African-American women, aged 18–70 years, who had completed an 8-week randomized AAT intervention, were invited to attend a focus group discussion. Session content was recorded and transcribed. Data were analyzed by use of open coding. Themes were identified that described their perceptions and experiences of participating in the intervention.


Seventeen women participated in three focus group discussions. Pertinent themes identified included: paying attention to internal cues of hunger and satiety, influence of culture on eating patterns, breaking patterns of disordered eating, and perceptions about weight. Overall, participants were satisfied with their experience of AAT, and reported they found it valuable to learn about listening to biological signals of hunger and satiety and to learn specific strategies to reduce maladaptive eating patterns.


AAT was acceptable and provided helpful eating behavior instruction to African-American women with reported binge and overeating behaviors. Future research should examine the potential of AAT to improve weight management in this underserved population.

Level of evidence

Level V, qualitative descriptive study.


Binge eating African-American Obesity Weight loss 



This study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (F31HL126425), and the Magee Womens Research Institute (Amy Roberts Research Award).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Authors Goode, Kalarchian, Conroy, Gary-Webb, Craighead, Bennett, Cowell, and Burke have no conflicts of interest to report.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in this study, which involved human participants, were in accordance with the ethical standards and approved by the Institutional Review Board of the University of Pittsburgh, and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.School of NursingDuquesne UniversityPittsburghUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.Division of General Internal MedicineUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  5. 5.Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public HealthUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  6. 6.Department of PsychologyDuquesne UniversityPittsburghUSA
  7. 7.School of NursingUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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