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OBJECTIVE: This study evaluated rates of self-harm and substance use in women with either bulimia nervosa (BN) or binge eating disorder (BED) and assessed whether differences in self-harm and substance use are related to sexual or physical abuse. METHOD: Alcohol abuse, self-harm, and use or abuse of various illicit drugs were evaluated in a sample of 53 women with BN and 162 women with BED. RESULTS: Self-harm and substance use generally did not differentiate BED and BN cases, but rates of self-harm and substance use were elevated among women with a history of sexual or physical abuse relative to women without such a history. DISCUSSION: Elevated rates of self-harm and substance use may not be related uniquely to BN diagnostic status, but may be related to a characteristic shared by women with BN and BED, such as a history of sexual or physical abuse.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Eat Disord

Publication Date





389 - 400


Adolescent, Adult, African Americans, Boston, Bulimia, Case-Control Studies, Child Abuse, Comorbidity, Connecticut, Diagnosis, Dual (Psychiatry), European Continental Ancestry Group, Female, Humans, Impulsive Behavior, Linear Models, Los Angeles, New York City, Risk Factors, Self-Injurious Behavior, Substance-Related Disorders, Women