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Eat Behav. 2007 Dec;8(4):485-91. Epub 2007 Jan 23.

A comparison of ethnic groups in the treatment of bulimia nervosa.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94303, United States.


This exploratory study investigated whether White and ethnic minority bulimic participants differ on key features of eating psychopathology and treatment outcome. Data from a randomized controlled multi-site study comparing the efficacy of either cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or interpersonal therapy (IPT) for 219 women with bulimia nervosa were analyzed. A significant baseline ethnic difference for body mass index (BMI) (p<.001) was found as well as an ethnicity by center interaction for a prior history of depression (p<.05). In addition, there was a significant ethnic difference for the Weight Concerns subscale of the Eating Disorder Examination (EDE). However, once BMI was controlled, this difference did not retain significance. At post-treatment, while all ethnic groups responded with higher abstinence rates to CBT than IPT, an ethnicity by treatment effect was found for the reduction of objective binge eating episodes. Black participants, compared to other groups, showed greater reductions in binge eating episodes when treated with IPT than CBT. Other findings related to secondary outcome measures, though limited by small sample size, are discussed as providing directions for future research.

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