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David Baxter

Mar 26, 2004
Study proposes anorexia and bulimia could have same psychopathological core
March 31, 2005

University of Naples psychologists suggest that anorexia and bulimia may have the same psychopathological core.

"We screened a sample of 259 female students, aged 17-20 years old by means of the Eating Disorder Inventory 2 (EDI 2) and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28). Those students identified to be at risk for an eating disorder underwent a semi-structured interview to provide a diagnosis according to DSM-IV criteria. We also considered the prevalence of 'not full-blown diagnosis,'" said P. Cotrufo and colleagues.

"We found two cases of full-syndrome (0.77%), both bulimics; 9 partial-syndrome bulimia nervosa (3.47%); and 1 of partial-syndrome binge eating disorder (0.38%). Moreover, 18 (6.94%) girls met the criteria for subclinical-syndrome, of which the majority was subclinical anorexia (5.79%)."

"We did not find statistically relevant differences between the anorexic and the bulimic samples on the psychological characteristics measured by the EDI 2 subscales," the researchers said.

They wrote, "These findings suggest the hypothesis that anorexia and bulimia could have the same psychopathological core and bulimia could be considered as a 'failed' anorexia."

Cotrufo and coauthors published their study in the Journal of Adolescence (Brief report: Psychological characteristics of less severe forms of eating disorders: an epidemiological study among 259 female adolescents. J Adolescence, 2005;28(1):147-154).

For additional information, contact P. Cotrufo, University of Naples, SUN, Dept. of Psychology, Via Vivaldi 43, I-81100 Caserta, Italy.

The publisher's contact information for the Journal of Adolescence is: Academic Press Ltd. Elsevier Science Ltd., 24-28 Oval Rd., London NW1 7DX, England.

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