Gender Differences in the Psychopathology of Obesity: How Relevant Is the Role of Binge Eating Behaviors?

Chiara Di Natale, Lorenza Lucidi, Chiara Montemitro, Mauro Pettorruso, Rebecca Collevecchio, Lucia Di Caprio, Luana Giampietro, Liberato Aceto, Giovanni Martinotti, Massimo di Giannantonio

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Background: Obesity is a condition that affects humans both physically and mentally. Moreover, many psychopathological conditions can be observed in obese patients that may threaten the positive outcomes of bariatric surgery. Purpose: The aim of this study was to identify the main psychopathological correlates of obese candidates for bariatric surgery, with particular attention on the relationship between psychopathology and gender. Methods: In total, 273 candidates for bariatric surgery for obesity underwent a psychiatric evaluation using a compilation of psychometric scales: the Revised Symptom Checklist 90-R (SCL-90-R), the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q), the Binge Eating Scale (BES), the Body Uneasiness Test (BUT) and the Obesity-Related Well-Being (ORWELL 97). The sample was divided on the basis of gender and binge eating disorder (BED) severity. Comparisons between the groups were performed using an analysis of variance model (ANOVA) or a Pearson’s chi-squared test. Further, we also divided our sample into a severe binge eating group (score > 27), a mild to moderate group (18 score 26) and a low/no symptoms group (score 17). Results: Male and female subjects showed different results for the BES, with higher scores reported among women (17.50 ± 9.59) compared to men (14.08 ± 8.64). Women also showed higher scores across most of the SCL-90-R domains and worse outcomes in terms of quality of life. Both women and men in the severe binge eating group reported higher scores for the SCL-90-R. Conclusion: The symptoms of BED, along with body image dissatisfaction (BID), are among the most important to investigate for candidates for bariatric surgery in order to improve the surgery outcomes. Level of evidence: Level III as the evidence came from a cohort analytic study.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere955
Number of pages13
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number7
Early online date21 Jul 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Jul 2022


  • obesity
  • bariatric surgery
  • gender
  • psychopathology
  • binge eating disorder
  • body image dissatisfaction


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