Relation between the syndromes of bulimia nervosa and obsessive compulsive disorder

  • Gina M. Formea
  • G. Leonard Burns


Bulimia nervosa (BN) has been conceptualized as similar to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). The results of studies investigating the relation between BN and OCD, however, are inconclusive. Our goal was to attempt to clarify the relation between the syndromes of BN and OCD. The Padua Inventory (PI), a measure of OCD, and the Bulimia Test—Revised (BULIT-R), a measure of bulimic behaviors, were administered to 981 women and 722 men. A significant relationship, equal in magnitude for women and men, was found between BN and OCD. Bulimic symptoms also had a stronger relation to obsessions than compulsions. Finally, 6 of 23 women (26%) who met the diagnostic criteria for BN also met the criteria for OCD, while 1 of 1 man who met the criteria for BN also met the criteria for OCD. Implications for similarities between the two disorders as well as future issues in the study of comorbidity are discussed.

Key words

bulimia nervosa obseassive compulsive disorder 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gina M. Formea
    • 1
  • G. Leonard Burns
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWashington State UniversityPullman

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