Relationships between features associated with vomiting in purging-type eating disorders




Vomiting is a pernicious symptom of eating disorders. We explored the relation between the symptom of vomiting and features of eating disorder course and severity, personality traits, and Axis I and II comorbidity in individuals with purging-type eating disorders.


The sample included participants from the multisite, international Price Foundation Genetic Studies, who had an eating disorder diagnosis (anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or eating disorder not otherwise specified) and had data available for the frequency of purging behaviors (n = 1,048). Axis I disorders, personality disorders, trait anxiety, perfectionism, and temperament and character dimensions were included as possible correlates.


The presence of vomiting was associated with less regular laxative use, lower self-directedness, organization, personal standards, and higher novelty seeking.


Vomiting remains a prevalent and potentially destructive symptom of eating disorders, with significant dental and medical morbidity. Our findings suggest that certain clinical and personality variables distinguish individuals with purging-type eating disorders who vomit from those who do not, although there were no marked differences in Axis I or II comorbidity. Specifically targeting treatment to decrease duration of exposure to this dangerous symptom continues to be an important clinical objective. © 2005 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.