Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Eat Disord. 1999 Sep;26(2):211-5.

Familial aggregation of eating disorders: results from a controlled family study of bulimia nervosa.

Author information

Western Psychiatric Institute, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pennsylvania, PA 15213, USA.



While familial aggregation of bulimia nervosa (BN) is known to occur, the extent to which aggregation of a broader spectrum of eating disorders (ED) occurs in the families of individuals with BN is less certain.


Direct interviews and blind best-estimate diagnostic procedures were used to assess lifetime histories of EDs among first-degree relatives (n = 177) of probands with BN (n = 47) and first-degree relatives (n = 190) of non-ED control probands (n = 44).


Forty-three percent of sisters and 26% of mothers of BN probands had a lifetime ED diagnosis, with eating disorder not otherwise specified (ED-NOS) diagnoses being most common. These rates were significantly higher than among sisters (5%) and mothers (5%) of controls. Few male relatives of either cohort had an ED.


Diagnostic assessment using contemporary family-epidemiology methodology revealed very strong familial aggregation of a broad spectrum of EDs among female relatives of women with BN.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center