Changes in psychopathology and symptom severity in bulimia nervosa between 1993 and 2003

Amanda S. Vaught, W. Stewart Agras, Susan W. Bryson, Scott J. Crow, Katherine A. Halmi, James E. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: This study investigated changes in symptom severity and the psychopathology of patients with bulimia nervosa between 1993 and 2003. Method: Pretreatment data of patients diagnosed with bulimia nervosa, collected between 1993 and 1997 from two multisite studies (N = 263), and from 2001 to 2003 from a third multisite study (N = 233) were compared for differences in psychopathology, eating disorder symptoms, and demographic characteristics. Results: There was a significant increase in baseline age between the cohorts (1993M = 28.7 ± 7.9, 2001M = 30.3 ± 8.7, p = 0.036) together with a decrease in personality disorders and in several aspects of eating disorder psychopathology. After controlling for age however, significant pretreatment differences were found only in the restraint subscale on the EDE. Conclusion: Results suggest that the presentation of individuals with bulimia nervosa has changed between 1993 and 2003, in that participants were older and demonstrated less dietary restraint. Hence, comparisons between samples and treatment trials over time must be made with caution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-117
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Age
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Psychopathology
  • Restraint
  • Time


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