Understanding persistence in bulimia nervosa: A 5-year naturalistic study

Christopher G. Fairburn, Eric Stice, Zafra Cooper, Helen A Doll, Patricia A. Norman, Marianne E. O'Connor

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120 Citations (Scopus)


Bulimia nervosa shows a marked tendency to persist, suggesting that powerful maintaining mechanisms operate. Using data from a prospective, 5-year, study of the natural course of 102 people with bulimia nervosa, the authors sought to identify predictors of persistence and to test specific hypotheses derived from the cognitive-behavioral theory of the persistence of bulimia nervosa. The results of both sets of analyses were consistent with the theory, with the degree of overevaluation of shape and weight and a history of childhood obesity predicting a persistent course. There was also support for the central prediction of the cognitive-behavioral theory. These findings suggest that the mechanisms specified by the theory influence its longer term natural course.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-109
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003

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