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Use and value of the 7-item binge eating disorder screener in clinical practice

Objective: To evaluate physician knowledge of and attitudes about binge-eating disorder (BED) and the value and ease-of-use of the 7-item Binge Eating Disorder Screener (BEDS-7) in clinical practice.

Methods: Two internet surveys (wave 1: April 15-May 6, 2015; wave 2: August 19-25, 2015) were administered to primary care physicians serving adults (PCPs-adults) and psychiatrists. Wave 1 invitees were US-based physicians spending ≥ 50% of their time in direct patient care and reporting "no" to "some to average" experience with eating-disorder patients. Respondents completing wave 1 qualified for wave 2.

Results: Among the 1,047 physicians who responded, 313 did not meet at least 1 of the screening criteria, including 3.15% of respondents who spent < 50% of their time in direct patient care. Overall, 122 PCPs-adults and 123 psychiatrists completed both waves. Physician groups spent similar mean ± SD amounts of time providing direct patient care (PCPs-adults: 94.66% ± 8.4%, psychiatrists: 91.15% ± 12.2%). Based on composite scores, BED knowledge increased from wave 1 to wave 2 in PCPs-adults (P < .001) and psychiatrists (P < .05). Composite scores pertaining to knowledge of and comfort with diagnosing and treating BED were lower for PCPs-adults than psychiatrists in both waves (all P < .001). Based on wave 2 responses, the BEDS-7 was used by 32.0% of PCPs-adults and 26.8% of psychiatrists. All BEDS-7 users (100%) indicated the screener was "very" or "somewhat" valuable, and nearly all users (psychiatrists: 100%, PCPs-adults: 97.4%) reported it was "very" or "reasonably" easy to use. BEDS-7 users reported that important uses of the screener included assisting clinicians in identifying BED patients and encouraging/initiating doctor-patient discussions about BED.

Conclusions: These results support the utility of the BEDS-7 in clinical practice, with BEDS-7 users reporting that it is a highly valued and easy-to-use screener. Furthermore, both PCPs-adults and psychiatrists acknowledged the importance of being knowledgeable about BED.


Herman, B. K., Deal, L. S., Kando, J. C., DiBenedetti, D. B., Nelson, L., Fehnel, S. E., & Brown, T. M. (2017). Use and value of the 7-item binge eating disorder screener in clinical practice. The Primary Care Companion For CNS Disorders, 19(3). https://doi.org/10.4088/PCC.16m02075

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