Erica Goodman

Date of Award

January 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Joelle Ruthig


Binge eating is common across both clinical and non-clinical populations; the diagnostic definition of binge eating has been scrutinized by extant literature in that findings have shown loss of control (LOC) to be more related to pathology than the amount of food consumed. The current study aimed to elucidate this notion further by investigating different types of LOC eating based on perception and amount of food consumed. College students (N = 227) completed self-report questionnaires assessing disordered eating, psychopathology, emotion regulation, impulsivity, quality of life, and self-esteem; 173 (76%) also completed an interview on typical and LOC eating in the past three months. Twenty-six participants endorsed three types of LOC eating episodes in the past three months: objective binge-eating episode (OBE) congruence, subjective binge-eating episode (SBE) discordance, SBE congruence; there were no differences in psychopathology between these groups. Higher levels of feeling out of control when eating were associated with greater frequency of LOC eating compared to non-LOC eaters. Higher levels of negative urgency predicted control group membership over SBE discordance membership. Five indicators of LOC eating (eating more rapidly, eating until uncomfortably full, eating when not physically hungry, eating alone because of feeling embarrassed, feeling disgusted with oneself afterward) all demonstrated predictive value, though eating alone because embarrassed was the most strongly associated with LOC eating. The current findings indicate the importance of assessing LOC eating in non-clinical samples as well as highlighting the need to expand the diagnostic criteria of binge eating.