Shame is broadly implicated in the development and maintenance of eating pathology. However, the relationship between shame and binge eating symptoms specifically is less clear. This review aimed to clarify what types of shame are associated with binge eating symptoms, and the antecedents and maintenance factors in these relationships.
A systematic search for quantitative and qualitative empirical studies was conducted to identify evidence of the relationship between shame and binge eating symptoms. Altogether, 270 articles were identified and screened for eligibility in the review.
Results of the relevant empirical studies (n = 31) identified several types of shame associated with binge eating pathology: (i) internal shame, (ii) external shame, (iii) body shame, and (iv) binge eating-related shame, as well as several mechanisms and pathways through which shame was associated with binge eating symptoms.
Drawing from the research findings, this review presents an original, integrated model of the cyclical shame-binge eating relationship. Clinical interventions that might break this cycle are discussed, as well as methodological weaknesses which limit causal inferences and important areas of future research.