Psychological Medicine



Original Article

Point prevalence of bulimia nervosa in 1982, 1992, and 2002


PAMELA K. KEEL a1c1, TODD F. HEATHERTON a2, DAVID J. DORER a3, THOMAS E. JOINER a4 and ALYSON K. ZALTA a3
a1 Department of Psychology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
a2 Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA
a3 Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
a4 Department of Psychology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA

Article author query
keel pk   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
heatherton tf   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
dorer dj   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
joiner te   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
zalta ak   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 

Abstract

Background. Recent epidemiological data suggest a decline in bulimia nervosa (BN) incidence in primary care. We sought to examine BN point prevalence from 1982 to 2002 in a college population.

Method. In 1982, 1992, and 2002, 800 women and 400 men were randomly sampled from a university for a study of health and eating patterns. Participation rates were 72% in women and 63% in men, resulting in n=2491 participants.

Results. BN point prevalence decreased significantly in women over the period of observation. Eating Disorder Inventory Bulimia scores decreased across cohorts, and these decreases remained significant when male and female and Caucasian and non-Caucasian students were analyzed separately.

Conclusion. These data support a decline in BN rates that cannot be attributed to changes in service utilization. Changing socio-cultural factors may explain a true decrease in BN incidence and prevalence.

(Published Online October 5 2005)


Correspondence:
c1 E11 Seashore Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA. (Email: pamela-keel@uiowa.edu)


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