The validity and clinical utility of purging disorder




To review evidence of the validity and clinical utility of Purging Disorder and examine options for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fifth edition (DSM-V).


Articles were identified by computerized and manual searches and reviewed to address five questions about Purging Disorder: Is there “ample” literature? Is the syndrome clearly defined? Can it be measured and diagnosed reliably? Can it be differentiated from other eating disorders? Is there evidence of syndrome validity?


Although empirical classification and concurrent validity studies provide emerging support for the distinctiveness of Purging Disorder, questions remain about definition, diagnostic reliability in clinical settings, and clinical utility (i.e., prognostic validity).


We discuss strengths and weaknesses associated with various options for the status of Purging Disorder in the DSM-V ranging from making no changes from DSM-IV to designating Purging Disorder a diagnosis on equal footing with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa. © 2009 American Psychiatric Association. (Int J Eat Disord 2009)