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Keywords:

  • eating disorders;
  • parasuicide;
  • comorbidity;
  • onset

Abstract

Objective

We examined differences in the onset pattern of comorbid disorders in eating-disordered women with and without a history of parasuicide to elucidate potential etiologic differences between the two groups.

Methods

Fifty-four women with a current or past eating disorder partcipated. Of these women, 27 had a history of suicide attempts and self-injury and 27 had no history of suicide attempts or self-injury. The age and pattern of onset for the eating disorder relative to comorbid major depression, anxiety disorder, and substance use disorder were compared between the groups.

Results

The onset of major depression and anxiety disorders occurred at a younger age in the parasuicidal group. In addition, the onset of major depression in the parasuicidal group occurred significantly more often before the onset of the eating disorder.

Discussion

The eating disorder may be secondary to a mood disturbance in women with parasuicidal histories. © 2004 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 35: 190–197, 2004.