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Am J Psychiatry. 1991 Nov;148(11):1552-7.

Symptoms of eating disorders in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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  • 1Laboratory of Clinical Science, NIMH, Bethesda, MD 20892.



This study was designed to explore potential overlap of the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder and eating disorders.


The authors administered a structured, self-rating scale, the Eating Disorder Inventory, to 59 outpatients at an obsessive-compulsive disorder clinic and to 60 sex-matched normal volunteers. The Eating Disorder Inventory has been previously validated as a reliable measure of the specific cognitive and behavioral dimensions of the psychopathology typical of patients with eating disorders. The scores of the patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder and of the healthy comparison subjects were compared with those of 32 female inpatients with anorexia nervosa (N = 10) or bulimia nervosa (N = 22) who had also been given the inventory.


The patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder scored significantly higher than the healthy comparison subjects on all eight subscales of the Eating Disorder Inventory: drive for thinness, bulimia, body dissatisfaction, ineffectiveness, perfectionism, interpersonal distrust, interoceptive awareness, and maturity fears. Relative to the healthy subjects, male patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder had more symptoms than female patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder. The scores of the female patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder were midway between those of the 32 female patients with eating disorders and those of the 35 female normal subjects.


These results suggest that patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder display significantly more disturbed eating attitudes and behavior than healthy comparison subjects and that they share some of the psychopathological eating attitudes and behavior that are common to patients with eating disorders.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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