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J Abnorm Psychol. 1992 Aug;101(3):383-90.

Psychological characteristics of dieters and bulimics.

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Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, Chicago 60680.


Two studies examined the continuum and discontinuity models of the relation between dieting and bulimia nervosa. In Study 1, 21 dieters, 19 bulimics, and 33 nondieting controls were compared on 24 measures. Multivariate analyses revealed that each of the groups differed significantly from the other two. Univariate analyses found 18 significant differences between bulimics and dieters and 1 significant difference between dieters and controls. In Study 2, 86 subjects completed measures of psychological functioning, dieting, and bulimia nervosa. On the basis of regression analyses using factor scores from the psychological variables as predictors, high scores on a psychopathology factor and low scores on a defensiveness factor predicted both bulimia and dieting. Low self-concept scores also predicted bulimia. These data indicate that both continuity and discontinuity characterize the relation between dieting and bulimia.

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