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Int J Eat Disord. 2010 Apr;43(3):248-59. doi: 10.1002/eat.20692.

Bulimia nervosa symptoms in the multimodal treatment study of children with ADHD.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22904-4400, USA.



We investigated body image dissatisfaction and bingeing/purging characteristics of bulimia nervosa (BN) in the ongoing prospective follow-up of the Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


Participants were 337 boys and 95 girls with ADHD and 211 boys and 53 girls forming a local normative comparison group (LNCG), reassessed in midadolescence (mean age, 16.4), 8 years after original recruitment.


Youth with childhood ADHD showed more BN symptoms in midadolescence than did LNCG youth, and girls demonstrated more BN symptoms than did boys, with effect sizes between small and medium. Childhood impulsivity, as opposed to hyperactivity or inattention, best predicted adolescent BN symptoms, particularly for girls. Among youth with ADHD, treatment received during the follow-up period was not associated with BN pathology.


Both boys and girls with ADHD may be at risk for BN symptoms in adolescence because of the impulsivity central to both disorders.

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