Adult picky eaters with symptoms of avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder: comparable distress and comorbidity but different eating behaviors compared to those with disordered eating symptoms
OBJECTIVE To gather information about picky eating and its correlates in adults and to determine whether picky eating is distinct from other eating disorder symptoms. METHOD Nearly 6,895 adults completed a web-based survey of picky eating behaviors, eating disorder symptoms, and putative associated features. Latent class analysis was used to identify groups based on picky eating and eating disorder symptoms, and groups were compared on salient demographic and clinical characteristics. RESULTS The latent class analysis identified four distinct groups that differed in severity of clinical correlates and levels of impairment. Morbidity was highest in the comorbid picky eating/eating disorder group, followed by the eating disorder, picky eating, and low pathology groups, respectively. DISCUSSION Future research is needed to document the continuity of picky eating from childhood, establish the epidemiology of picky eating in adults, clarify thresholds of clinical significance, and elucidate clinical features that will inform nosology.