Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 133–140

Co-occurrence of eating disorders and alcohol use disorders in women: a meta analysis

  • T. Gadalla
  • N. Piran
Review article

DOI: 10.1007/s00737-007-0184-x

Cite this article as:
Gadalla, T. & Piran, N. Arch Womens Ment Health (2007) 10: 133. doi:10.1007/s00737-007-0184-x


This meta analysis involved 41 studies published between January of 1985 and May of 2006, which examined the co-occurrence of eating disorders (ED) and alcohol use disorders (AUD) in women. Studies were reviewed and a quantitative synthesis of their results was carried out via the calculation of standardised effect sizes. Direction and strength of the relationships between AUD and specific disordered eating patterns were examined. Heterogeneity of reported results was also assessed and examined. Only 4 out of 41 studies reported negative associations between ED and AUD. The magnitude of the associations between eating-disordered patterns and AUD ranged from small to medium size and were statistically significant for any ED, bulimia nervosa (BN)/bulimic behavior, purging, binge eating disorder (BED) and eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS). No association was found between anorexia nervosa (AN) and AUD. The magnitude of the association between BN and AUD was the most divergent across studies and those between each of BED and dietary restriction and AUD were the most consistent across studies. Reported associations of different patterns of disordered eating and AUD were generally weakest and most divergent when participants were recruited from clinical settings and strongest and most homogeneous when participants were recruited from student populations.

Keywords: Eating disorders; alcohol use disorders; women; co-occurrence; meta analysis

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Gadalla
    • 1
  • N. Piran
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Social WorkUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Ontario Institute for Studies in EducationUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada