Full syndromal versus subthreshold anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder: a multicenter study

Scott J Crow, W Stewart Agras, Katherine Halmi, James E Mitchell, Helena C Kraemer
International Journal of Eating Disorders 2002, 32 (3): 309-18

OBJECTIVE: The diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), and binge eating disorder (BED) establish symptom severity levels, which are used to separate full cases from partial cases. However, the value of these distinctions is unclear.

METHOD: Three hundred eighty-five women with full or partial AN, BN, or BED were assessed at entry into a longitudinal study of eating disorders.

RESULTS: Stepwise discriminant analysis revealed that full and partial BN were discriminated by the Yale-Brown-Cornell Eating Disorders Scale total scores (kappa =.46). However, it was not possible to discriminate between full and partial AN or BED. Discriminant analysis also demonstrated clear differences between full AN, BN, and BED.

DISCUSSION: Full BN can be differentiated from partial BN by more severe eating disorder symptoms, whereas both full and partial AN and full and partial BED appear quite similar. These results emphasize the distinct nature of AN, BN, and BED, as well as the similarities between full and partial cases.

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