Patients versus symptomatic volunteers in bulimia nervosa research

James E. Mitchell, Richard Pyle, Elke D Eckert, Claire Pomeroy, Dorothy K Hatsukami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The majority of the controlled treatment trials for bulimia nervosa have used symptomatic volunteers for at least part of their subject sample. However, little is known about possible differences between patients with bulimia nervosa and volunteers recruited for treatment research. In this study we compared 40 subjects recruited through newspaper advertisements for treatment studies to a series of 40 patients who presented spontaneously for treatment. Overall, the two groups were quite similar on most variables examined, including age of onset of the eating disorder, descriptions of binge–eating behavior, weight histories, and attitudes toward weight and shape. However, patients were more than four times more likely to have been treated for depression. These results suggest that there are many similarities, and probably some differences, between symptomatic volunteers and patients, as defined in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)837-843
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1988


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