Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 521–531 | Cite as

Cognitions in Obese Binge Eaters and Obese Non-Binge Eaters

  • Helga Nauta
  • Harm J. Hospers
  • Anita Jansen
  • Gerjo Kok


The aim of this study was to examine the frequency and content of several cognitions (negative self-schemas and weight, shape, and eating-focused cognitions) in obese binge eaters and obese non-binge eaters. We used a structured clinical interview to detect differences in cognitions. The majority of obese binge eaters mentioned negative self-schemas that could be characterized as negative generalizations about the self combined with weight, shape, or eating concerns, whereas the majority of obese non-binge eaters mentioned weight, shape, and eating concerns that were not combined with negative generalizations about the self. Participants with negative self-schemas, irrespective of binge category, were more depressed and had lower self-esteem than the other participants. Finally, with respect to the content analyses of negative self-schemas, we found that both groups most often mentioned themes such as rejection, unworthiness, and lack of willpower. However, obese non-binge eaters mentioned more self-schemas regarding lack of willpower, whereas obese binge eaters were more preoccupied with rejection and unworthiness. Implications for future work are discussed, including how cognitive techniques focusing on negative self-schemas might improve treatment for obesity.

obese binge eaters obese non-binge eaters clinical interview negative self-schemas automatic thoughts 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helga Nauta
    • 1
  • Harm J. Hospers
    • 2
  • Anita Jansen
    • 2
  • Gerjo Kok
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Health EducationMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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