Body checking is considered a behavioral manifestation of the overevaluation of shape and weight, which is characteristic of patients with eating disorders. We examined the initial psychometric properties of the Body Checking Questionnaire (BCQ) and the frequency and nature of body checking behaviors in obese men and women with binge eating disorder (BED).
Participants were a consecutive series of 73 (22 men, 51 women) treatment-seeking obese adults who met research criteria for BED as defined in the 4th ed. of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV; American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Participants were administered measures to assess body checking, body image concerns, and the core psychopathology of eating disorders, and general psychological functioning. Semistructured interviews were used to establish the diagnosis of BED.
Psychometric evidence was found to support the reliability and validity of the BCQ in patients with BED. Women reported significantly greater levels of body checking than men. Participants with greater body dissatisfaction reported more frequent checking than participants with less dissatisfaction. Among women, the frequency of checking was related to younger age, lower body mass index (BMI), body dissatisfaction, overevaluation of body shape and weight, greater depression, and lower self-esteem.
There exist significant gender and age-related differences in both the frequency and correlates of body checking behaviors. Among obese women with BED, body checking is related to the overevaluation of shape as well as with associated psychopathology.