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Keywords:

  • bulimia nervosa;
  • self-esteem;
  • eating disorders;
  • symptom patterns;
  • depression;
  • remission;
  • SSES

Abstract

Objective:

Bulimia nervosa (BN) is associated with low self-esteem. This study was designed to assess whether low self-esteem persists in nondepressed individuals who have recovered from BN (BN-R).

Method:

Study groups included BN (n = 22), BN-R (n = 20), and healthy controls (n = 42). Participants were medication-free, and none met criteria for current major depression. Assessment instruments included the State Self-Esteem Scale (SSES), a self-rating scale designed to measure state-related changes in self-esteem.

Results:

Consistent with previous reports, SSES scores for BN were lower than for controls (p < .001). For BN-R, SSES scores were higher than for BN (p < .001), but lower than for controls (p < .025). For BN-R, scores on the SSES Appearance subscale were inversely correlated with ratings of dietary restraint (p < .005).

Conclusion:

This study provides new evidence for persistent low self-esteem following recovery from BN. Follow-up studies are needed to assess whether low self-esteem contributes to recurrent dieting and risk for relapse. © 2007 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2008