This study aimed to compare bulimia nervosa (BN), binge eating disorder (BED), and purging disorder (PD) on clinically significant variables and examine the utility of once versus twice-weekly diagnostic thresholds for disturbed eating behaviors.
234 women with BN, BED, or PD were identified through self-report measures via an online survey and categorized based on either once-weekly or twice-weekly disturbed eating behaviors.
BN emerged as a more severe disorder than BED and PD. The three groups differed significantly in self-reported restraint and disinhibition and the BN and BED groups reported higher levels of depression than PD. For BN, those engaging in behaviors twice-weekly versus once-weekly were more symptomatic.
The BN, BED, and PD groups differed in clinically meaningful ways. Future research need to clarify the relationship between mood disturbances and eating behaviors. Reducing the twice-weekly behavior threshold for BN would capture individuals with clinically significant eating disorders, though the twice-weekly threshold may provide important information about disorder severity for both BN and BED. © 2009 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2010; 43:724–731