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Sumati Gupta, PhD

Dr. Gupta is a licensed psychologist and professor at Barnard College, Columbia University. She specializes in the treatment of anxiety and eating/weight issues at Tribeca Psychology in NYC

Top Eating Disorders Treatment Information


How binge eating affects your marriage/relationship

A myriad of personal factors influence how we function in relationships, from personality to financial habits to cleanliness – and eating issues are no exception. New research to be published next month investigated how binge eating is related to the quality of marriage. Are people who binge eat as happy in their marriage as those who don’t binge eat? The research suggests this isn’t the case.

Surveying over 2,000 women across the United States, researchers gathered data on marital functioning among people with binge eating disorder, people with other psychiatric illnesses, and people without any mental health disorders. The data revealed that women with binge eating disorder were less satisfied in their marriages compared to both women with other psychiatric illnesses (e.g. depression, anxiety) and to women with no mental health disorders.

Furthermore, women with binge eating disorder experienced more negative interactions (e.g. demanding partner), and less positive interactions (e.g. partner cares about me) compared to women with no mental health disorders.

The researchers could not ascertain whether binge eating caused, correlated, or resulted from unhappy marriages. Perhaps the secrecy, guilt, or withdrawal that’s related to binge eating leads to more fights and conflicts in a marriage. On the other hand, perhaps daily fights at home after work contribute to binge eating later in the evening. Either way, there’s a clear relationship between binge eating and a less satisfying marriage.

The study authors speculate that if you’re getting help for binge eating, it may be useful to include your spouse in the process. Also, working on communication skills as a couple may simultaneously help reduce binge eating.

Photo credit: kkbnk84

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