Title page for ETD etd-09112007-093254

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Van Breda, Anna Elizabeth
Email analisa@mweb.co.za
URN etd-09112007-093254
Document Title Binge eating : an exploratory study of a group of South African women
Degree PhD (Psychotherapy)
Department Psychology
Advisor Name Title
Dr A White
Prof C A Potgieter
Prof T Shefer
  • binge eating
  • obesity
  • anxiety
  • South African women
  • binge eating disorder
Date 2007-04-16
Availability restricted

Bingeing or binge eating is the critical feature of binge eating disorder. Binge eating disorder is regarded as the third eating disorder, alongside Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa, although it is not an official diagnosis in the DSM-IV-TR. Traditionally, binge eating is seen as a variant of Bulimia and treated accordingly. According to the research findings of this study, the treatment of binge eating is not very effective, as the disorder is resistant to both psychological and medical treatment. The current study attempted to find out whether binge eaters themselves could shed some light on the uncertainties around the illness. The research consisted of interviews that were conducted with five binge eaters who were required to describe a binge. A qualitative, phenomenological analysis was conducted on the interviews and each participant completed a 16 PF Personality Questionnaire. The participants were patients of the researcher and were from the Western Cape, South Africa. The analysis produced eleven themes, a description of the essence of binge eating and two higher-order factors of the 16 PF. The themes are presented in terms of the research questions: what happens during a typical binge; what happens after a binge; why do people indulge in binge eating; what lies beyond the symptom of binge eating; what leads the sufferer to lose control of her eating and what does the loss of control mean? The results of the analysis indicate that binge eaters experience a variety of emotions and that their psychological histories and personalities play a role in the illness. The current theories around binge eating see binge eating as a form of addiction and maintain that various developmental and psychological factors can lead to the development of the illness. It became clear from the current research that both developmental and psychological aspects give rise to the illness. Addiction to carbohydrates is also present. The results of the research show that binge eating occurs within the personality dynamics of anxiety and social dependency. Within this context it seems as if successful treatment has to be multi-modal in catering for addiction, coping with anxiety and the acquiring of social independency.

University of Pretoria
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