Binge eating, purging, or both: Eating disorder psychopathology findings from an internet community survey

Authors

  • Christina A. Roberto MS,

    1. Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
    2. Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
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  • Carlos M. Grilo PhD,

    1. Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
    2. Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
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  • Robin M. Masheb PhD,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
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  • Marney A. White PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
    • Eating Disorders Research Program, Yale Psychiatric Research at Congress Place, 301 Cedar Street, 2nd Floor, PO Box 208098, New Haven, Connecticut 06520
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Abstract

Objective

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.

Method

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.

Results

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.

Discussion

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

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