Predictive validity of bulimia nervosa as a diagnostic category

P K Keel, J E Mitchell, K B Miller, T L Davis, S J Crow
American Journal of Psychiatry 2000, 157 (1): 136-8

OBJECTIVE: The authors sought to investigate the predictive validity of bulimia nervosa as a diagnostic category.

METHOD: More than 10 years after they appeared as patients with bulimia nervosa, 177 women (participation rate=79.7%) completed follow-up assessments.

RESULTS: Among the women with a current eating pathology, most engaged in recurrent binge eating and purging. Anorexia nervosa and binge eating disorder were relatively uncommon. Eating disorder outcome was significantly related to the presence of mood, substance use, and impulse control disorders but not to the presence of anxiety disorders.

CONCLUSIONS: These results support the validity of bulimia nervosa as a diagnostic category that is distinct from anorexia nervosa. Furthermore, these results suggest that bulimic symptoms are associated with disorders involving distress and disinhibition.

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