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Binge eating disorder, Food craving, Overeating, Restrained eating, Obesity

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This study presents a novel application of the cognitive processing model of alcohol craving (CPMA) from the addictions field to the role of food craving in the well-established restrained eating–overeating relationship associated with binge eating disorder (BED). A community sample (N = 1058, ages 18-66) completed an online survey assessing four core domains: restrained eating, trait food craving, uncontrolled eating, and emotional eating. In accordance with the CPMA, food craving emerged as a significant indirect effect of the association between restrained eating and both uncontrolled and emotional eating. Gender did not significantly moderate any direct or indirect associations, suggesting that gender may not change the pattern of association between restrained eating and different facets of overeating. Results suggest that treatments targeting binge eating behaviors may benefit from 1) explicitly addressing the activation of food craving rather than concentrating on reducing restrained eating and 2) recognizing that food craving may be an important gender-neutral target with the potential to reduce binge and overeating behaviors. Future research should extend these preliminary findings by examining the application of the CPMA to eating behaviors while jointly investigating antecedents and contextual factors.

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Appetite, v. 123, p. 146-151

This article is the post-print author version. Final version available at:

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