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Psychother Psychosom. 2003 Jan-Feb;72(1):26-33.

Bulimia and impulsive behaviour in middle adolescence.

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University of Tampere, Tampere School of Public Health, and Tampere University Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, Tampere, Finland.



In clinical samples, bulimia seems to be associated with various dyscontrol behaviours suggesting weakness in impulse control. Population studies of adolescents, however, are needed. We evaluated the association between self-reported bulimic behaviour and a number of dyscontrol behaviours, namely bullying, truancy, excessive drinking and sexual disinhibition among adolescents aged 14-16. This is the first study on bulimia and impulsivity in a large non-selected adolescent population sample.


A self-report questionnaire was administered to a representative population sample of 14- to 16-year-old adolescents (pupils of the 8th and the 9th grades of secondary school in four different regions in Finland). 4,453 girls and 4,334 boys aged 14-16 participated. The participation rate was 85.5%.


Bulimic behaviour was associated with bullying, truancy, excessive drinking and sexual disinhibition among both sexes. Odds ratios for bulimic-type eating pathology according to each of these behaviours varied between 1.7 and 4.1. The more dyscontrol behaviours occurred simultaneously, the more likely was bulimic-type eating pathology.


There is an association between bulimic behaviour and dyscontrol behaviours in the general population of adolescent girls and boys.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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