Reformulating and testing the perfectionism model of binge eating among undergraduate women: A short-term, three-wave longitudinal study

The perfectionism model of binge eating (PMOBE) is an integrative model explaining why perfectionism is related to binge eating. This study reformulates and tests the PMOBE, with a focus on addressing limitations observed in the perfectionism and binge-eating literature. In the reformulated PMOBE, concern over mistakes is seen as a destructive aspect of perfectionism contributing to a cycle of binge eating via 4 binge-eating maintenance variables: interpersonal discrepancies, low interpersonal esteem, depressive affect, and dietary restraint. This test of the reformulated PMOBE involved 200 undergraduate women studied using a 3-wave longitudinal design. As hypothesized, concern over mistakes appears to represent a vulnerability factor for binge eating. Bootstrapped tests of mediation suggested concern over mistakes contributes to binge eating through binge-eating maintenance variables, and results supported the incremental validity of the reformulated PMOBE beyond perfectionistic strivings and neuroticism. The reformulated PMOBE also predicted binge eating, but not binge drinking, supporting the specificity of this model. The reformulated PMOBE offers a framework for understanding how key contributors to binge eating work together to generate and to maintain binge eating.