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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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40. Targeting the neurobiological processes and emotional distress in the treatment of Binge Eating Disorder among Black women: A research proposal

Binge eating disorder (BED) is the newest addition to the eating disorder category of the DSM-5 but has become the most common eating disorder in the United States. BED has been described clinically as atypical eating behaviors seen among men and women. While the DSM-5 requires certain criteria for diagnosis, binging behaviors as a whole is under recognized and under-treated because the etiology and neurobiological factors remain understudied and inadequately understood. Although there is research available that points at higher prevalence rates of binging in minority communities (specifically with African American women), there continues to be scarce research readily available. Additionally, researchers posit the role of biology (impulsivity and reward processing) and epigenetics that may contribute to minority groups as a predisposition to developing an eating disorder. This suggests that clinical interventions target more physiological processes in clients with impaired eating behaviors.

Subsequently, popular treatment modalities that are shown effective in the treatment for BED are inadequately comprehended for Black women (Mama et. al., 2015). Moreover, Black women are less likely to seek treatment and/or drop out, suggesting that more traditional interventions, like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) may not be as accepted with this population (Bulik, Brownley & Shapiro, 2007). Bearing in mind the treatment interventions currently used; Cue Exposure and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) may show promising results. DBT not only works from a cognitive-behavior model, but it also emphasizes emotional regulation and stress tolerance. Along with DBT, Cue Exposure works from a Pavlovian learning model in which physiological processes are emphasized. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate factors that contribute to binge eating among African American women. Furthermore, this will be the first study to date which will look at how combing DBT and Cue Exposure can work to effectively aid in the treatment and symptom reduction of BED among Black women.

Bulik, C.M., Brownley, K.A. & Shapiro, J.R. (2007). Diagnosis and management of binge eating disorder. World Psychiatry, 6(3): 142-8.

Mama, S.K., Schembre, S.M., O’Connor, D.P., Kaplan, C.D., Bode, S. & Lee, R.E. (2015). Effectiveness of lifestyle interventions to reduce binge eating symptoms in African American and Hispanic women. Appetite, 95: 269-74.

C. Kashonna Webster
Doctoral Student- California School Professional Psychology (Alliant Int'l University)

Erin O'Callaghan
Alliant International University- CSPP


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