Skip to main content

Metacognitions about desire thinking predict the severity of binge eating in a sample of Italian women

Abstract

In this study, our principal aim was to investigate whether metacognitions about desire thinking predict the severity of binge eating in women and, if so, whether this relationship is independent of age, self-reported body mass index (BMI), negative affect, irrational food beliefs and craving. One hundred and four women, consisting of 32 consecutive patients with binge eating disorder undergoing initial assessment for cognitive therapy for eating disorders, 39 moderate binge eaters, and 33 non-binge eaters (both from the general population), completed the following measures: Self-reported BMI, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Irrational Food Beliefs Scale, General Craving Scale, Metacognitions about Desire Thinking Questionnaire, and Binge Eating Scale. A series of Spearman’s rho correlation analyses revealed that self-reported BMI, anxiety, depression, irrational food beliefs, craving, and all three factors of the metacognitions about desire thinking questionnaire were significantly associated with the severity of binge eating. A stepwise regression analysis identified self-reported BMI, craving, and negative metacognitions about desire thinking as significant predictors of the severity of binge eating. These results, taken together, highlight the possible role of metacognitions about desire thinking in predicting the severity of binge eating. The clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (Fifth Edition)

  2. Andres A, Saldana C (2014) Body dissatisfaction and dietary restraint influence binge eating behavior. Nutr Res 34:944–950. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2014.09.003;32

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Arnow B, Kenardy J, Agras WS (1992) Binge eating among the obese: a descriptive study. J Behav Med 15:155–170. doi:10.1007/BF00848323

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Brown TA, Keel PK (2012) Current and emerging directions in the treatment of eating disorders. Subst Abuse 6:33–61. doi:10.4137/SART.S7864

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  5. Caselli G, Ferla M, Mezzaluna C, Rovetto F, Spada MM (2012) Desire thinking across the continuum of drinking behaviour. Eur Addict Res 18:64–69. doi:10.1159/000333601

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Caselli G, Nikčević A, Fiore F, Mezzaluna C, Spada MM (2012) Desire thinking across the continuum of nicotine dependence. Addict Res Theory 20:382–388. doi:10.3109/16066359.2011.644842

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Caselli G, Soliani M, Spada MM (2013) The effect of desire thinking on craving: an experimental investigation. Psychol Addict Behav 27:301–306. doi:10.1037/a0027981

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Caselli G, Spada MM (2010) Metacognitions in desire thinking: a preliminary investigation. Behav Cogn Psychother 38:629–637. doi:10.1017/S1352465810000317

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Caselli G, Spada MM (2011) The Desire Thinking Questionnaire: development and psychometric properties. Addict Behav 36:1061–1067. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2011.06.013

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Caselli G, Spada MM (2013) The Metacognitions about Desire Thinking Questionnaire: development and psychometric properties. J Clin Psychol 69:1284–1298. doi:10.1002/jclp.21999

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Caselli G, Spada MM (2015) Desire thinking: what is it and what drives it? Addict Behav 44:71–79. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2014.07.021

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Celio A, Wilfley D, Crow S, Mitchell J, Walsh B (2004) A Comparison of the Binge Eating Scale, Questionnaire for Eating and Weight Patterns-Revised, and Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire with Instructions with the Eating Disorder Examination in the Assessment of Binge Eating Disorder and its Symptoms. Int J Eat Disord 36:434–444. doi:10.1002/eat.20057

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Cooper MJ, Grocutt E, Deepak K, Bailey E (2007) Metacognition in anorexia nervosa, dieting and non-dieting controls: a preliminary investigation. Br J Clin Psychol 46:113–117. doi:10.1348/014466506X115245

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Costantini M, Musso M, Viterbori P, Bonci F, Del Mastro L, Garrone O, Venturini M, Morasso G (1999) Detecting psychological distress in cancer patients: validity of the Italian version of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Support Care Cancer 7:121–127. doi:10.1007/s005200050241

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Deaver C, Miltenberger R, Smyth J, Meidinger A, Crosby R (2003) An evaluation of affect and binge eating. Behav Modif 27:578–599. doi:10.1177/0145445503255571

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Di Bernardo M, Barciulli E, Ricca V, Mannucci E, Moretti S, Cabras PL, Rotella CM (1998) Validazione della versione italiana della Binge Eating Scle in pazienti obesi. Minerva Psichiatr 39:125–130

    Google Scholar 

  17. Fairburn CG, Cooper Z, Shafran R (2008) Enhanced cognitive behavior therapy for eating disorders: the core protocol. In: Fairburn CG (ed) Cognitive behavior therapy and eating disorders. Guilford Press, New York, pp 47–193

    Google Scholar 

  18. Fernie BA, Caselli G, Giustina L, Donato G, Marcotriggiani A, Spada MM (2014) Desire thinking as a predictor of gambling. Addict Behav 39:793–796. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2014.01.010

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Flannery BA, Volpicelli JR, Pettinati HM (1999) Psychometric properties of the Penn Alcohol Craving Scale. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 23:1289–1295. doi:10.1111/j.1530-0277.1999.tb04349.x

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Gormally J, Black S, Daston S, Rardin D (1982) The assessment of binge eating severity among obese persons. Addict Behav 7:47–55. doi:10.1016/0306-4603(82)90024-7

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Greeno CG, Wing RR, Shiffman S (2000) Binge antecedents in obese women with and with out binge eating disorder. J Consult Clin Psycohol 68:95–102. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.68.1.95

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Heatherton TF, Baumeister RF (1991) Binge eating as escape from self-awareness. Psychol Bull 110:86–108. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.110.1.86

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. Holmes M, Fuller-Tyszkiewicz M, Skouteris H, Broadbent J (2015) Understanding the link between body image and binge eating: a model comparison approach. Eat Weight Disord 20:81–89. doi:10.1007/s40519-014-0141-4

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  24. Kavanagh DJ, Andrade J, May J (2005) Imaginary relish and exquisite torture: the elaborated intrusion theory of desire. Psychol Rev 112:446–467. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.112.2.446

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. Kessler RC, Berglund PA, Chiu Wai Tat, Deitz AC, Hudson JI, Shahly V, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Alonso J, Angermeyer MC, Benjet C, Bruffaerts R, de Girolamo G, de Graaf R, Haro JM, Kovess-Masfety V, O’Neill S, Posada-Villa J, Sasu C, Scott K, Viana MC, Xavier M (2013) The prevalence and correlates of binge eating disorder in the WHO World Mental Health Surveys. Biol Psychiatry 73:904–914. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.11.020

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  26. Lavender JM, De Young KP, Anderson DA (2011) Eating Disorders Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q): norms for undergraduate men. Eat Behav 11:119–121. doi:10.1016/j.eatbeh.2009.09.005

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Leehr EJ, Krohmer K, Schag K, Dresler T, Zipfel S, Giel KE (2015) Emotion regulation model in binge eating disorder and obesity. A systematic review. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 49:125–134. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  28. Luce KH, Crowther JH, Pole M (2008) Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q): norms for undergraduate women. Int J Eat Disord, 273–276. doi:10.1002/eat.20504

  29. May J, Andrade J, Panabokke N, Kavanagh D (2004) Images of desire: cognitive models of craving. Memory 12:447–461. doi:10.1080/09658210444000061

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  30. May J, Andrade J, Panabokke N, Kavanagh D (2010) Visualspacial tasks suppress craving for cigarettes. Behav Res Ther 48:476–485. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2010.02.001

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  31. McDermott CJ, Rushford N (2011) Dysfunctional metacognitions in anorexia nervosa. Eat Weight Disord 16:49–55. doi:10.1007/BF03327521

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Meno C, Hannum J, Espelage D, Douglas L (2008) Familial and individual variables as predictors of dieting concerns and binge eating in college females. Eat Behav 9:91–101. doi:10.1016/j.eatbeh.2007.06.002

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. Mykletun A, Stordal E, Dahl AA (2001) Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale: factor structure, item analyses and internal consistency. Br J Psychiatry 179:540–544. doi:10.1192/bjp.179.6.540

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  34. Olstad S, Solem S, Hjemdal O, Hagen R (2015) Metacognition in eating disorders: comparison of women with eating disorders, self-reported history of eating disorders or psychiatric problems, and health controls. Eat Behav 16:17–22. doi:10.1016/j.eatbeh.2014.10.019

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  35. Osberg TM, Eggert M (2012) Direct and indirect effects of stress on bulimic symptoms and BMI: the mediating role of irrational food beliefs. Eat Behav 13:54–57. doi:10.1016/j.eatbeh.2011.09.008

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  36. Osberg TM, Poland D, Aguayo G, MacDougall S (2008) The Irrational Food Beliefs Scale: development and validation. Eat Behav 9:25–40. doi:10.1016/j.eatbeh.2007.02.001

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  37. Polivy J, Herman CP (1993) Etiology of binge eating: psychological mechanisms. In: Fairburn Christopher G, Wilson Terence G (eds) Binge eating: nature, assessment and treatment. Guilford Press, New York, pp 173–205

    Google Scholar 

  38. Saules K, Collings A, Hoodin F, Angelella N, Alschuler K, Ivezaj V et al (2009) The contributions of weight problem perception, BMI, gender, mood, and smoking status to binge eating among college students. Eat Behav 10:1–9. doi:10.1016/j.eatbeh.2008.07.010

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  39. Spada MM, Caselli G, Fernie BA, Manfredi C, Boccaletti F, Dallari G, Gandini F, Pinna E, Ruggiero GM, Sassaroli S (2015) Desire thinking: a risk factor for binge eating? Eat Behav 18:48–53. doi:10.1016/j.eatbeh.2015.03.013

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  40. Spada MM, Caselli G, Nikčević AV, Wells A (2015) Metacognition in addictive behaviors. Addict Behav 44:9–15. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2014.08.002

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  41. Spada MM, Caselli G, Slaifer M, Nikčević AV, Sassaroli S (2014) Desire Thinking as a predictor of problematic Internet use. Soc Sci Comput Rev 32:474–483. doi:10.1177/0894439313511318

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Spada MM, Caselli G, Wells A (2013) A triphasic metacognitive formulation of problem drinking. Clin Psychol Psychother 20:494–500. doi:10.1002/cpp.1791

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  43. Spoor ST, Stice E, Bekker MH, Van Strien T, Croon MA, Van Heck G (2006) Relations between dietary restraint, depressive symptoms, and binge eating: a longitudinal study. Int J Eat Disord 39:700–707. doi:10.1002/eat.20283

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  44. Striegel RH, Bedrosian R, Wang C, Schwartz S (2012) Why men should be included in research on binge eating: results from a comparison of psychosocial impairment in men and women. Int J Eat Disord 45:233–240. doi:10.1002/eat.20962

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  45. Telch CF, Pratt EM, Niego SH (1998) Obese women with binge eating disorders define the term binge. Int J Eat Disord 24:313–317. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1098-108X(199811)24:3<313:AID-EAT9>3.0.CO;2-P

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  46. Wang WC, Worsley A, Cunningham EG (2009) Social ideological influences on food consumption, physical activity, and BMI. Appetite 53:288–296. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2009.07.004

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  47. Wells A (1995) Worry and the incubation of intrusive images following stress. Behav Res Ther 33:579–583. doi:10.1016/0005-7967(94)00087-Z

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  48. Wells A (2000) Emotional disorders and metacognition: innovative cognitive therapy. Wiley, Chichester

    Google Scholar 

  49. Wells A (2009) Metacognitive therapy for anxiety and depression. Guilford Press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  50. Wells A (2013) Advances in Metacognitive Therapy. Int J Cogn Ther 6:186–201. doi:10.1521/ijct.2013.6.2.186

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Wiser S, Telch CF (1999) Dialectical behavior therapy for binge eating disorder. J Clin Psychol 55:755–768. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1097-4679(199906)55:6<755:AID-JCLP8>3.0.CO;2-R

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  52. Zigmond AS, Snaith RP (1983) The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Acta Psychiatr Scand 67:361–370. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0447.1983.tb09716.x

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

Author BAF receives salary support from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Mental Health Biomedical Research Centre and Dementia Research Unit at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

Ethical approval for this study was granted by Studi Cognitivi, Milan, Italy. All participants were informed that data provided in the study would be treated in the strictest confidence and that participation was entirely voluntary.

Informed consent

All participants provided informed consent.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Marcantonio M. Spada.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Spada, M.M., Caselli, G., Fernie, B.A. et al. Metacognitions about desire thinking predict the severity of binge eating in a sample of Italian women. Eat Weight Disord 21, 297–304 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40519-015-0205-0

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40519-015-0205-0

Keywords

  • Binge eating
  • Binge eating disorder
  • Craving
  • Irrational food beliefs
  • Metacognitions about desire thinking
  • Negative affect, self-reported body mass index