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Keywords:

  • self-harm;
  • substance use;
  • Black and White women;
  • binge eating disorder;
  • bulimia nervosa

Abstract

Objective

This study evaluated rates of self-harm and substance use in women with either bulimia nervosa (BN) or binge eating disorder (BED) and assessed whether differences in self-harm and substance use are related to sexual or physical abuse.

Method

Alcohol abuse, self-harm, and use or abuse of various illicit drugs were evaluated in a sample of 53 women with BN and 162 women with BED.

Results

Self-harm and substance use generally did not differentiate BED and BN cases, but rates of self-harm and substance use were elevated among women with a history of sexual or physical abuse relative to women without such a history.

Discussion

Elevated rates of self-harm and substance use may not be related uniquely to BN diagnostic status, but may be related to a characteristic shared by women with BN and BED, such as a history of sexual or physical abuse. © 2002 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 32: 389–400, 2002.